10: People who are so self-absorbed that they don’t notice anything around them

January 12, 2009

God, I fucking hate people who are so self-absorbed that they don’t notice anything around them.

Yesterday my girlfriend and I went to Brooklyn to watch football at a friend’s place. We were on the Q, sitting at the edge of the long seat. There’s one spot next to my girlfriend, and then the bar that basically splits the long seat in half (it was a newer train). Across from me, also at the edge of the long seat of the opposite side, sits a man. He then puts his backpack next to him on the seat and angles his body so that his legs are pointing to the end of my long seat. And then he crosses them.

He’s obviously quite comfortable.

So Mr. Comfortable pulls out a NY Times from his backpack and eagerly sets about reading what would soon appear to be every word. As he takes up two seats, with both his backpack and his body language.

A few stops later, the car starts to really fill up. A woman and her daughter get on, and she sits the daughter down next to my girlfriend. The woman sits directly across from her, next to Mr. Comfortable’s backpack.

Every piece of etiquette states that this woman would have been completely within her rights to ask him to move his backpack so her daughter could sit down next to her. But it wasn’t that big of a deal, there was no real reason for her to need to sit next to her … no harm, no foul.

Except that every 20 seconds or so Mr. Comfortable would bend his paper down, turn the page, re-fold, or basically do something that would bring the paper down below his sightline. And I can guarantee that he knew the woman sitting next to his backpack had a little girl sitting across the aisle.

Did he do anything?

No, of  COURSE he didn’t. He just kept reading the NY Times, then would put a section back in his backpack, pull another one out, and start reading.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, his backpack at one point kind of flopped over and was now impeding on this poor woman’s personal space. Did he move it? No. When the little girl came over to her mom, and stood in front of her talking, did Mr. Comfortable see this through his peripheral vision and offer to move his backpack so they could sit together? Not a chance. In fact, the guy sitting next to the woman, on the other side of the bar, got up and gave his seat to the little girl. He walked all the way to the other end of the car, found a spot, and sat down.

Now, was this completely Mr. Comfortable’s fault? Some might say no. Some might say that it’s her responsibility to ask him to move his backpack and move over.

At some point, though, no matter what you’re reading, what you’re listening to, or what you’re doing, you’ve got to just do the sensible thing.

As for you, Mr. Comfortable: you better I hope I never see you so engrossed in the NY Times ever again, or you’ll be shitting out that yarmulke. Along with bits of my shoe, after I kick your goddamned teeth in. Selfish fucking jerk.