Space, The Final Frontier

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Lack of personal space – it’s a common complaint of foreigners in China, and a valid one. I was waiting for my flight back from Beijing the other day and chose a quiet part of the airport to sit and read my newspaper (oops, I mean work on my client presentation). There were literally hundreds of empty seats all around and then guess what happened? Two guys (pictured) decided the best place to come and have a loud discussion was RIGHT NEXT TO ME!

It reminds me of an amusing thing I saw on urinal etiquette a while ago (see how I skillfully managed to slot in a urine reference to days in a row!). You know how it works guys – if there are 3 urinals you never take the middle one. If there’s a guy on the far left, you leave a buffer and take the one on the far right.

So back to the airport. Can someone PLEASE explain this to me? I was furious and eventually stood up and moved to another seat. Luckily, they didn’t follow.

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5 Responses to Space, The Final Frontier

  1. CP says:

    Supermarket queues are bad as well. That moment when the person in front of you moves ahead – even if only slightly – and the person behind also moves even if you don’t and kind of awkwardly stands ‘in’ you until you remember to do a voluntary ‘involuntary’ backward elbow spasm.

    Yet another iPhone game idea comes to mind – Personal Space Invaders. You are in a busy waiting room and win points for the amount of time you spend with at least one metre of free space between yourself and anyone else (etc. etc.)

  2. WoAi says:

    @CP – It’s not just supermarkets. Any kind of queue. In those cases I like to have a back pack that I occasionally swing around my left and then right shoulder, smacking whoever it is behind me in the face if they are standing too close, then apologising insincerely and thus, subtly implying it wasn’t all my fault!

    Another good app idea although I think I like the name more than the game!

  3. CP says:

    @WoAi: re. the app, it’s certainly more of a title looking for content (c.f. the ‘I’m Alan Partridge TV series, where Alan comes up with a whole load of ideas for television series names, but no idea what the programmes would actually be about).

    Also re. the ‘etiquette’ paragraph, the link is quite funny but I think it would have to be completely re-written for the Chinese market. There’s nothing about standing at/near/milesawayfrom the porcelain with your trousers around your knees (what’s Chinese for “undoing ones flies”?), liberally splashing the floor, talking loudly on ones mobile phone, etc….

    Is it me or is China rather quiet today?

  4. WoAi says:

    @CP – I almost used this one which covers all the extra things you mentioned:

    http://www.brocode.org/a-quick-guide-to-urinal-etiquette/

    Yes, winding down already. Half the office have already gone for the holidays.

    Keep up the good work on the titles. Let someone else worry about the, you know, substance!

  5. Lil Bro says:

    95% of the time people over here naturally abide by the etiquette. But occasionally exceptions are seen. I was in the gym just the other day and sure enough, of all the empty lockers to choose from a guy steps up next to me and puts his stuff in the locker next to mine. If the lockers were 3ft wide this wouldn’t have been a problem. It would still be questionable but not in a ‘wtf?’ kind of way. Anyway, I did ask the guy if he had some kind of attachment to that particular locker. Needless to say I didn’t get far with my line of inquiry. And he wasn’t even Chinese.

    On a separate note, are those excellent looking airport seats original OMK seats? (The ‘K’ being Kinsman.)

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