The Weekly Rant with Gary Patella

Thoughts and ideas on various grievances that are relevant to everyday life.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Leaning Sleeper

With the rare exception of those that live a completely sheltered life, there will be occasions when we travel. There are various ways to travel. But unless you are traveling by car, there is a problem that will crop up every now and then. On buses, trains, and planes we often have to sit next to a complete stranger.

Human nature being what it is, there are many problems that can arise from this situation. I cannot run the gamut and discuss all of the problems ranging from body odour to lack of consideration for personal space. I will only discuss one.

During a long journey, many of us are susceptible to somnolence. At this point, many people commit an act of extreme discourtesy. I understand that the person next to me is tired, but that person next to me should understand that we are strangers! As such, there are certain lines that should not be crossed. And one of those lines is definitely crossed when the stranger decides to use me as a pillow!

When you are a complete and total stranger, you have to come to the realisation that my shoulder is not near you for your convenience. It is merely what happens when two people sit next to one another. Attached to that shoulder is me, and I'd appreciate it if you leaned your head in the opposite direction.

Sleeping on a stranger takes the disregard for personal space to a whole other level. It is more than mild rudeness. It is simply unacceptable. Now I have to spend the entire trip nudging some random person's head off of me. Times like that make me wish that seats came with personal dividers between them. Obviously the arms rests are not sufficient enough.

So the next time you're traveling and you feel yourself getting tired, mind which way you lean. At the point where drowsiness sets in, you can still make a conscious decision to lean away from the person you have never met or seen before. I don't know what behaviours fit into your understanding of etiquette, but I can tell you that most people would consider it rude to drool on a total stranger. Keep that in mind for the future.


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