Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Personal Space

I've become very accustomed to dealing with different cultures. I realize that oftentimes the way things are done back home, and expectations that we carry with us, don't always work in other parts of the world. But one thing that still continues to irk me is personal space. Scratch that, the idea of personal space, rather. It just doesn't exist in some places. And try as I might, I just can't get comfortable with people all up in my grill, so to speak. If we are in line, I don't need you breathing down my neck and taking two steps to my every one. If you need to tell me something, it's not going to be better understood the closer you get to my face. In fact, I'm actually finding it very hard to concentrate because I've now stopped the desire to breathe.

Well, this whole issue reached new heights for me on my flight home from Morocco the other day. I was flying Air Maroc, so the assumption that I was going to be in the minority was a done deal. The only plan I had for this flight, however, was to sleep. Not much else mattered. So I really tried to keep my cool during the check-in process as I was cut in front of, had my toe run over by a suitcase, and was yelled at for not taking two steps forward during passport checks. I mean, really?!! Does it matter if I move the two steps now when there is about 87 people still ahead of me? But whatever.

None of those things bothered me as much as my experience once I actually boarded the plane. I had the window--the middle seat was occupied by an older muslim woman. She claimed both arm rests right away. That wouldn't be such a problem normally, but in this particular plane the seats were so close together and space was so limited, that by her claiming the armrest on my side, she also overflowed into my seat. So to compensate, I tried to angle myself sideways. This was the state in which I began what I hoped to be a pleasant 3 hour nap. Apparently not, though. I started my journey by turning off my air conditioning vent so that i would be able to use my sweatshirt as a pillow. Imagine my surprise when I wake up chilly because miss lady next to me has opened my vent back up. Really? You do that here? Isn't that why we all have our own? It's really not my fault you have 10 layers of clothes on and are extra hot on the plane, but apparently I'm supposed to be mindful of that. Not soon after I feel pressure on my leg. The woman is literally trying to force my leg to move with pressure from her leg. So you've taken my arm space and now you want my leg space too?! Fine, you can have it. I close my eyes to continue my nap and not soon after I just get this feeling that something isn't right. I open my eyes and the lady is leaning over me to look out the window. It was as if I wasn't even there! I couldn't believe it. If you wanted a window seat, you should have asked for it like I did.

I'm pretty sure all my muttering under my breath and rolling my eyes didn't do a ton of good. We don't speak the same language, we have different ideas of what's acceptable, and the fact that I couldn't sleep peacefully on my flight meant nothing to her. So I figured I would complain to you, instead. Does anyone else experience this phenomena when traveling abroad?


josephesr said...

"I'm actually finding it very hard to concentrate because I've now stopped the desire to breathe." My favorite part of this posting. That happens to you too, huh!

CJ said...

I feel your pain Bri!! Its rough flying overseas. I woulda said something and I don't care if she could understand me or not. I prolly woulda tried some ghetto sign language or something!! But that's the exact reason why I now request tha aisle seat, cuz I don't have to worry about feelin trapped. But for real I woulda told ol girl to get up off me tho!! I'm just sayin!!

Bianca said...

I wish you would post pictures of all this!!! I want visuals!

Give Mel a kiss for me ;)

The Gamelord said...

At least you can now be sure that you aren't claustrophobic. I woulda been climbing the seats! I wonder if there is a universal sign for "give me 3 feet, man"?

#2 Fan said...

I don't even need a visual for this, I totally got the picture LOL. This is so funny and irritating at the same time LOL. And yes, I've experienced it, but try to remember that the word "no" is pretty much universal LOL. Know when to pick your battles though
;-) LOL.

Anonymous said...
Looking for a model I came across one of your USATF photographs. Reminds me you don't look so bad.

Shinks said...

OMG! I had the exact same things to say about the exact same trip. I too was cut in front of, breathed on, leaned across and basically al-round harassed by the peoples of Morocco. And let us also mention a serious disuse of a small essential thing like deodorant. I was not impressed and a voiced a serious desire to never return. Never. Unless we are talk a substantial appearance fee.

Dr Huxtable's Diagnosis said...

Maybe she had to turn on your air because you stink?!

Was your hair down again?...maybe some spiders crawled out and the air kept them away from her!

Were you acting like an arrogant American again? Maybe she wasn't looking out the window but really was trying to jump out of it!

Did you have snack on the plane? Maybe you had crap all over your face again and she was hungry!

Was your mouth open again while you were sleeping? Maybe she hocked up a green luggie and had no tissue so needed a place to deposit it!

Oh just never knows in life. My money is on the spiders!