First I want to say I’ve been reading the etiquette hell site for years and thoroughly enjoy it. In fact, I feel the tidbits from it have made me a better member of society. Now for my story and question.
I moved to a large metropolitan area around six months ago and find myself still adapting to “city life”. I’ve lived in large cities before but have never noticed the gross lack of common decency I seem to find here. I live in a typical multi-level apartment building which I chose in part because of it’s lovely landscaping. The courtyard is very attractive and even the front of the building is covered in fauna and has a small lawn. The building also has a wonderful exercise facility that faces the front of the building. I almost exclusively use the treadmills which face very large windows, looking over the small lawn and onto a street. I enjoy being able to watch the world go by and soak up some sunshine while exercising in the evening.
The other day I was walking and had already been on the treadmill for awhile (I typically walk 30-40 minutes). A woman came in to use the treadmill next to me and proceeded to close the blinds on the floor to ceiling windows! Sadly, because of the size of the windows, this also blocked my view. I made of a point of looking at her to try to get her attention to voice my preference regarding the open blinds and she refused to look at me. She then left for five minutes, leaving me continuing my workout with my view now blocked. She then finally came back and moved to a different machine altogether, leaving my blinds closed and closing another blind in the process!
I admit – I didn’t say anything to her or voice my preference because I was so flabbergasted she’d make that adjustment without asking. Additionally, in my opinion I think my preference was priority because I was there before she showed up. So, the question I pose to you is whether it was ok for her to close the blinds without inquiring as to the preference of the others in the area. Additionally, am I right to assume that my preference overrides hers because I was there first?
I find my “traditional Midwest” manners are outright ignored here and I want to know how others would approach this situation, balancing the line between aggressive and polite. 0908-16
Are there little critters, squirrels, chipmunks, snakes, all over the front of the building? Sorry….couldn’t help myself….
In my opinion, being the first one on a community shared resource does not always equate to having preferential priority. When you own something yourself then you have priority to exercise your preferences but when the community owns it, no one has priority preference. I swim at a local fitness center and nothing irks me more than people who think they own the pool lane because they are the first one in it. There are only six lanes and each lane can accommodate at least 2 swimmers on a busy day but no, the first person in the lane hogs it by refusing to move to one side of the lane or will vocally express their ownership of the lane. Sorry, the posted pool etiquette does not give you that exclusive right to the pool lane.
Ideally, the newcomer to the exercise facility should have asked if you minded her closing the blinds and had she done so, you would have been obligated to yield your preferences to hers considering the fact that you have just enjoyed a large percentage of your workout with open blinds and a lovely view. Or you can say, “Excuse me, I prefer the blinds open so as to enjoy the sunlight. I’ll be done in 5 minutes.”