Body Parts

Maybe 'only children' ponder life differently about their bodies than children who have siblings.
Or maybe it's cultural. But here is what I have been pondering of late:

When circumstance or choice puts someone I care about physically touching me, I am quite content. It is often desirable and usually quite enjoyable.  In this case, I am not talking about purposeful snuggling or hand-holding.  Rather, those moments when sitting next to a friend or loved one and bodies touch.  There is comfort and familiarity.

However,  at least for me, I don't think this applies when positioned next to acquaintances or strangers.

Last night, while attending a concert and sitting in a theatre with very closely attached seats, I was distinctly aware of spatial boundaries.  There is often that awkward moment when one person has his/her arm on the chair arm and you move to do the same and there is not enough room for two.  One person usually moves their arm and lets the other person (the original tenant?) remain.  Perhaps, even an  "excuse me" is whispered.

There are some people who do not have or do not understand spatial boundaries.  These people enter into and remain in an uncomfortable proximity without ever sensing or balking as if it might be too close.  These are the folk who leave their arm or elbow on the theatre seat arm whether you join them or not. These might well be the same people who walk up to you while you are speaking with someone else and they stand all too close as though they were presumably welcome into your preexisting conversation.

It's almost a Murphy's Law for me when it comes to parking spaces.  I have noticed that many times I choose to park in a spot that has one or even two empty spaces next to me on both sides. When given that luxury, I park there consciously so that I can effortlessly open my car door without concern about my door hitting the car already parked to my side.  Despite there being numerous other parking spaces available (and sometimes spaces even closer to the store or presumed destination) invariably another car comes and attempts to pull in to my left.  Not only that but as I am leisurely exiting my car, I look out and see that driver waiting impatiently for me to get out and close my door so that they can park right next to me.  When all the while there are at least or two other spots in either direction that would have suited just as well.  Go figure.

Need I even mention elevator opportunities?

And then I have been wondering why it is that when sleeping next to someone and he/she places or leaves a body part on top of my body then that person falls asleep their body part feels like dead weight and I move it away.  Yet, when I fall asleep with my arm or hand resting on my leg or my belly, I don't mind it at all. I fall asleep and it feels natural to have my arm or hand anywhere I want to place it.  Doesn't my arm also fall asleep heavily, too?  Or if I sit with my foot tucked under my bottom while sitting for too long, my foot 'falls asleep' and is heavy-laden and I can't walk on it till the tingling stops.

I even like being close to and sleeping closely with my animal companions. A three-dog night is pretty groovy to me (you could throw in a cat or two in that mix). Even though as puppies, you usually see litter mates piled on top of each other as they sleep, I notice that if I fall asleep with my hand on my dog she eventually shakes me off or gets up and moves to a new location on the bed or the floor.

Several years ago, there was a wonderful Oscar-winning animated film by Nick Park that was titled "Creature Comforts". In one scene, there was a mountain lion telling his story and he happened to share that even though he lived in a pack community he "needed his space." I still remember that amusing scene partly because the lion had an unexpected but lilting South American accent and partly because I agreed with him.

Excuse me, would you mind moving over just a little bit?


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