Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

A run-in

Thursday. Green Line MAX train. Me on board, taking the second train of my commute home from work. Approaching the Foster St./Lents stop where I transfer to the 14 bus back to my neighborhood. This happened.

Between me and the door I'd soon need to exit was a teenage boy. To my right was a teenage girl. To my left, another young man. Both boys (good-sized backpacks on their backs) were holding onto the poles in the middle of the train with one of their hands, and with the other they were using their phones. She, as far as I remember, wasn't. No matter what, we were all standing close together enough that I would need to push past somebody awkwardly, and really it should be the young man in front of me since he was the most in the way. Which would mean me getting his attention and him (I hoped) moving enough to let me by. But he wasn't noticing much beyond his phone.

And I punted. Instead of asking him to move I moved to go around him, and I started to step on the young woman's foot. I realized it, stumbled to get my foot off of hers, got past her, and apologized to her. I hope she could tell I was sincere, but: she was paying attention to her surroundings, the young man wasn't, and I still ran into her with him not even noticing that I was trying to get past.

I feel weird about this. I made her give up personal space; she shouldn't have had to. The young man didn't. He didn't even seem especially aware of anyone else's presence. His backpack took up plenty of space, too, which he'd made no effort to minimize.

Paying attention. It's something I harp on: notice what's around you, please. She was. He wasn't. She's still the one who had to bear the brunt of my clumsiness; he didn't. Maybe he should have.

I hope, again, that my sincerely feeling bad I'd stepped on her foot was something she understood, that she knew I didn't mean it maliciously. But it was simply easier for me to disrupt her than disrupt him.

I hope I didn't give a bad lesson.

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