By Heather Alexander, RMU Student
Has all respect for personal space gone out the window or is it just me? Unfortunately, I am forced to ride public transportation to and from work and school on a daily basis because paying for parking downtown is just about as expensive as paying back a student loan. My CTA experiences vary from day to day. Some days are loud, like when the girl who continuously pops her gum in mid-conversation on the telephone decides to sit next to me and I feel like she has her phone connected to an amplifier. And some days are quiet, like when the tired old lady with all the grocery bags shifts half of her weight onto my seat. Whether it is a noisy or quiet day, my space is still being intruded upon.
Anyone who rides the CTA knows that some of these things are to be expected, but how much heavier or taller (I’m only 5’2”) do I have to be in order for someone to say excuse me when they bump me upon boarding or exiting the bus? And is it really going to harm your conversation that much to continue in the privacy of your own home? I’m pretty sure your boyfriend/girlfriend cheating on you is irrelevant to the well-being of the majority of riders on the bus. I know during rush hour, buses can’t help but be crowded, but the line has to be drawn somewhere. Even though the riders on CTA have to deal with being uncomfortable from time to time, a little courtesy goes a long way. Now, would I be wrong if I told the amplifier girl that she needed to lower her voice or if I moved away from the straddling old woman? No, I just need more personal space within a public space, and as a paying rider I should deserve at least that much, in addition to safely arriving to my destination.
To avoid invasion of personal space on the CTA, I choose to just wait out the rush hour period. I’ll occupy myself doing meaningless things like window shopping or spending money I don’t have on food and drinks just so I won’t have to be bothered with all the hustle and bustle of annoying conversations and shopping bags. So what if I get home an hour later and have to stay up the rest of the night working on homework for the next day? At least I’ll still have my dignity.