Personal space

Here are the signs that you either grew up with half-glass-empty parents or you’ve spent too much time in New York: when a person approaches you on the street for directions, and you slowly start backing away because you wonder in the back of your mind whether this person is trying to con you into something or potentially steal your wallet without you knowing. That happened to me during a lunchtime walk today. This guy just wanted to know how to get to a certain area via the subway, and I really thought he was getting too close into my personal space, so I started backing away, even as he kept moving closer to me.

In New York, we get cramped on subway trains and platforms, and we’re used to being in massive crowds with little breathing room or “personal space.” Yet, as New Yorkers, we also develop defense mechanisms and forms of self-protection, and one of them is to never let anyone get too physically close to you unless it’s absolutely necessary (e.g. subway car during rush hour). I wonder if I’ll never get rid of this mentality once I leave New York… if I ever leave New York?

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