Saturday, September 4, 2010

In My Space - In My Face

I was able to board the plane early thanks to my husband's frequent flying privileges. I was on my way to meet him to play in his company's annual golf tournament. It would be a welcome but short get-away from the Texas heat. I was pleased the airline switched our plane from the original itsy bitsy teeny tiny express jet it was supposed to be - to a 737. It resulted in more empty seats than I expected, which is always nice for the passengers but not the airline. I took my window seat in the exit row that I love for the extra room for my extra long legs. Other passengers continued to board the plane.

Eventually a gentleman - good looking to boot - entered my row and took the aisle seat. He was engaged in a cell phone conversation that he continued with until the main cabin door was closed and all cell phones had to be turned off. He hung his jacket on the tray table hook of the seat between us as he sat down. Throughout the flight he was pleasant, occasionally making a comment regarding happenings on the plane. He perused one part of his newspaper keeping the other sections in the seat between us. It ended up holding his jacket (which moved there when he lowered the middle seat tray table to make a place for his drinks), wallet, napkin and a few other assorted articles. He lowered his own tray table to make room for his laptop and remained engaged in his work for most of the flight - until his three beers (or was it four? - I blame it on my wine!) at high altitude kicked in!

With his beers spread out on the middle tray table and his belongings filling the chair between us, I suddenly felt a little claustrophobic. My space was being taken over ever so subtly. I placed my wine cup (I wish I'd brought my own real glass) on the tray table between us, opened my bottle and poured myself a glass on "his" tray table, leaving mine empty. I smirked as I started to edge into his space - looked out the window at the beautiful sunset and smiled. "I'll bet he doesn't even realize what he did or that I am writing about him" - I thought.

He really turned out to be quite a nice fellow. We talked after dinner about our work and families as his beers kicked in and his desire to focus on his work waned. I am sure he didn't mean to take over the space like he did. But a real gentleman (like my husband) would have asked if I minded if he used the open seat or table or if we could share.

I was reminded of the space on the plane issue the other day when a gym member I had not seen in a long time ran into me after my class. She moved in very close while she was talking. I wanted to take a step back but was up against a wall already. I thought maybe it was just because she is a hair dresser and usually gets right up next to people to work on them that she was so comfortable being so close. I laughed to myself as it almost seemed absurd and wondered if I "got in people's space" too.

In yoga I try to respect people's space. I do not step on their mats. I let people know I am near if their head is down and they don't see me coming. I gently touch their shoulder as a warning. I ask permission to adjust their pose.

It is ok to be in other people's space - just ask permission first.