Author Topic: Taking up two seats on the subway  (Read 5689 times)

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AuntyEm

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Taking up two seats on the subway
« on: February 23, 2013, 10:35:35 AM »
Had an awkward commute into work last week and wonder what was the best way to handle it.

I got onto the extremely crowded subway car on my morning commute and noticed a seat next to a woman that I thought was only occupied by her large open purse.  I was carrying my laptop, purse and regular winter gear and asked her if I could please sit there.  She seemed to ignore me once so I asked again.  She moved her purse and I went to sit down but couldn't actually get into the seat properly because she was physically overlapping into the other seat.  She made no move to adjust her position and I sat on the edge of the seat as best I could bracing against the seat back beside me.  I would have been more comfortable standing and putting all my gear into the seat but didn't want to embarrass her by pointing out that she was taking up two seats. 

During the ride, she pulled out her cell phone and bottled drink and rested her arm on my back and then stretched her legs out into the crowded aisle making a hazard for the people trying to stand and hold on.  Instead of feeling sorry for her, I began to be annoyed.  I said nothing and just waited for a chance to move when it would have been normal to do so.

Would you have continued to sit precariously on the edge or just have stood up?  I did move to an empty seat when I could a few stops down the line.

Zilla

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Re: Taking up two seats on the subway
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2013, 10:41:59 AM »
She put her elbow on your actual back or the back of your chair?  If she was touching me, I would have asked firmly once more, "Can you please move, I am not able to sit in the seat."  If she declined, then I would remain standing till another seat opened.


If she had put an elbow on my back I would have been more sharp and tell her coldly to remove her arm at once.

Sharnita

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Re: Taking up two seats on the subway
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2013, 10:44:26 AM »
Why would moving have required you to "point out" that she was taking up two seats?

snowdragon

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Re: Taking up two seats on the subway
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2013, 10:56:41 AM »
Was she taking up two seats because she was seated awkwardly  or because she was big?   One she could help the other not so much.

I would have had words for her for touching me.

AuntyEm

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Re: Taking up two seats on the subway
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2013, 11:02:20 AM »
She was taking up two seats because she was so big (it was mostly her lower half so it was not apparent when I asked to sit down).

Sharnita-I had asked twice to sit down, was carrying a lot of heavy items and the subway was packed.  If I had stood up immediately, I think she would have known why.

Her arm was resting on my back while she was looking at her cell phone.

Zilla

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Re: Taking up two seats on the subway
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2013, 11:10:46 AM »
She was taking up two seats because she was so big (it was mostly her lower half so it was not apparent when I asked to sit down).

Sharnita-I had asked twice to sit down, was carrying a lot of heavy items and the subway was packed.  If I had stood up immediately, I think she would have known why.

Her arm was resting on my back while she was looking at her cell phone.


Oh I didn't realize she couldn't help but take a bit more of the seating.  That's different.  I would simply ask her to remove her arm.  I would not ask her to move over.

Giggity

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Re: Taking up two seats on the subway
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2013, 11:28:59 AM »
During the ride, she pulled out her cell phone and bottled drink and rested her arm on my back and then stretched her legs out into the crowded aisle making a hazard for the people trying to stand and hold on.  Instead of feeling sorry for her, I began to be annoyed.  I said nothing and just waited for a chance to move when it would have been normal to do so.

What happened when you told her to stop touching you?
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Tea Drinker

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Re: Taking up two seats on the subway
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2013, 11:50:16 AM »
There's nothing wrong with taking up the amount of space you actually need, whether because you're fat, have broad shoulders from weight lifting, or for any other reason. But humans take priority over stuff.

In that case, I might have asked the woman to move her purse, but if I then looked at the seat and didn't think I would fit, I would say something like "thanks anyhow, but I don't think I'll fit there." However, it was absolutely reasonable for you to sit as best you could, even if it meant perching on the edge, and rude for that woman to try to push you off. She may well have needed one and a half seats, and if so, it's fine for her to take that much space. Not to insist on the other half seat she hadn't been sitting in.
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Judah

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Re: Taking up two seats on the subway
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2013, 12:30:44 PM »
She was taking up two seats because she was so big (it was mostly her lower half so it was not apparent when I asked to sit down).

Sharnita-I had asked twice to sit down, was carrying a lot of heavy items and the subway was packed.  If I had stood up immediately, I think she would have known why.

Her arm was resting on my back while she was looking at her cell phone.

The woman knows she's big, you wouldn't be calling attention to it by standing up, nor would you be telling her something she didn't know. She likely puts her purse on the seat next to her to discourage people from wanting to sit in a seat she knows won't have enough room for them.
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secretrebel

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Re: Taking up two seats on the subway
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2013, 01:38:28 PM »
I met this lady's sister on a bus last week! She had her bag on a long strap around her neck and resting on the seat beside her. When I tried to sit next to her I said "excuse me" to ask her to move it and she turned her head away, deliberately ignoring me. I didn't have the moxie to pick up her bag and put it n her lap - not when it was around her body - so I switched seats.

TurtleDove

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Re: Taking up two seats on the subway
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2013, 06:56:48 PM »
I met this lady's sister on a bus last week! She had her bag on a long strap around her neck and resting on the seat beside her. When I tried to sit next to her I said "excuse me" to ask her to move it and she turned her head away, deliberately ignoring me. I didn't have the moxie to pick up her bag and put it n her lap - not when it was around her body - so I switched seats.

1) I love the word "moxie"!  2) I generally say, "excuse me" and if they do not move their items I make moves to move their items. 3) Usually once they see I am in fact intending to sit whether they like it or not, they move their items. 4) I do not shy from confrontation because it takes two for a confrontation - I do not think it is out of line to want to sit on a bus, so if someone wants to challenge me on that, bring it. 

afbluebelle

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Re: Taking up two seats on the subway
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2013, 07:03:26 PM »
I've always preferred standing.  I ride subways/buses so rarely that holding onto the handlebars/hand loops still makes me feel adventurous  :P.
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Daydream

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Re: Taking up two seats on the subway
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2013, 07:22:35 PM »

Would you have continued to sit precariously on the edge or just have stood up?  I did move to an empty seat when I could a few stops down the line.

I would do whichever is most comfortable for me since neither would impact her.  But if I wanted to stay seated, and she had her arm on my back, I would lean away from her (to the side or forward) as best I could and say, "oh, sorry" as if I thought I was infringing on her space, so as not to possibly "engage the crazy" of a stranger in an enclosed space.  If that didn't work, I'd stand up. 

Venus193

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Re: Taking up two seats on the subway
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2013, 10:48:41 PM »
Things like this get on my last nerve.  Posting for ideas.

Softly Spoken

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Re: Taking up two seats on the subway
« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2013, 11:51:05 PM »
As a large woman who has to rely on the bus for transportation, I have been thinking about this kind of situation fairly often.

My impression of her behavior is as follows: as others have said, we can't help whatever amount of space we take up - but we should not take up more than what we are physically entitled to. I would add that if space is limited we are responsible for arranging ourselves as unobtrusively as possible. So while she could not help having wide hips, she should have moved her bag and kept her arms and legs to herself.

I think we have to decide whether to take advantage of whatever space is (or rather isn't) available. I try not to take it personally when I am on the bus and people choose to stand instead of sitting next to me. :( If I am by the window, then unfortunately the person who does choose to sit next to me will be hanging off the edge (just like I hang half off if I sit on the isle). This may sound weird, but sometimes I almost want to tell them that I actually wouldn't mind being squished a little if it would help them have more seat. I'm not contagious and I don't have a problem with physical contact, and I feel bad about the idea that they are put out or uncomfortable. I try to "make" myself as small as possible but I can't break the laws of physics. :-\

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