Post by Lauren
Today we are addressing the Swiss rule book on personal space. Or lack thereof.
My displeasure at this cultural difference has been brewing for months. It erupted most often prior to most recent events at IKEA. As you shop at European IKEAs, people brush beside you, even where there is plenty of room. By the time we get to the frames, I am usually really to kill somebody. Gabe knows I have a time limit at IKEA due to this issue and tries to get me out of there in under an hour. Sometimes we had to go only in for one thing as we knew that the time to decide on two items might push me over the hour limit, and thus over the edge of sanity.
While noticeable throughout the summer, the invasion of personal space became a forgotten thing at the end of the summer. I spent a lot of time back in the US where everyone sticks to themselves.
And upon return to Europe, the number of people in Geneva has multiplied. Like rabbits. If you were wondering where they went, they were all on vacation. Trams, buses, places are generally more crowded. In a crowd, one might try to separate from others to not invade another’s area. Not true in Switzerland. Even in empty places, they try to snuggle up next to you.
Yesterday, I went to the gym at 6:45am. The bus is empty at that hour. People usually don’t get going until 9am. So, I happily found an empty row on the bus. There were about 10 empty rows. I even had room to put my gym bag / purse on the seat next to me. So guess what next lady to board does? Sit beside me. I had to move my bag to my lap. Really?
And this morning, Gabe and I went together to the gym at 6:30am. Empty. Blissful. You get your pick of equipment. I laid a mat down to do abs for 20 minutes before disco spin. And my keys to my locker that i have to keep up with the whole time. On the vast vast vast floor, a lady comes and lays her mat on top of my keys about 3 inches from me. I said “pardon” and reached under her mat to get my keys. And she gave me a nasty look. Really?
I am just waiting for what fun is in store for space invasion tomorrow. I am considering getting a bubble suit to protect myself.
There is so much about this journey of yours that would equally drive me crazy, and personal space is definitely one of them. I like my space, you are doing good to laugh it off 🙂