Please indulge me as I share with you one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.
It was about 1993 and I was on the E train heading to Queens, NYC. The seats on the E ran straight down the sides of the train so that passengers had to sit next to each other and face the row on the other side of the train. I was sitting across from a rather built young man wearing very tight jeans. He was sitting with his legs as wide open as humanly possible (especially considering how tight his jeans were) and taking up the space of 3 passengers. We came to a stop and an old woman got on the train. I want to emphasize old. Seriously. An age that made you wonder if it was safe for her to be on the train. Admittedly, back then I thought 30 was old, but still.
There were no seats available and people started to shift around. Some people, including me, got up and offered her our seats. She quickly told us to sit back down and walked over to Mr. 3 seats. She stood over him and said, LOUDLY,
“What! Is your d!@k made of gold. Move over!”
I can’t tell you if I’ve ever laughed harder. The poor guy was so embarrassed but laughter through shock is impossible to stop. Even writing this now I am laughing. It was such a classic subway moment.
This story passed my mind as I was on the subway recently. This time however it was because I saw something that had to be the opposite of taking up 3 seats. A man sat on a woman’s coat when he took a seat next to her on the train. Interestingly, she apologized to him. And I felt annoyed.
Mr. 3 seater was so comfortable taking up as much room as he could and here this woman was apologizing for being in the way of this guy’s rear. I was annoyed because women do this all the time. We take up as little room as possible and apologize when we take up the space we are actually entitled to fill. We cross our legs and our arms, we whisper and tip toe. And we don’t even notice.
So here’s an idea. Take up as much room as you can for the next week and see what comes up for you.
1. Raise the volume of your voice.
2. Sit with your legs open (yes, I said it.)
3. Swing your arms when you walk (really swing them)
4. Spread your papers over as much table space as you can – at Starbuck’s, at your kitchen table, at the library, in your office.
5. Interrupt someone when they are speaking. Stop anyone who tries to interrupt you.
6. Leave you stuff around without apology.
Oh, and take up 3 seats on a train and tell me what happens.
I’ll bet it feels good.