Thursday, 8 March 2012

Being nice v Being safe

When I first started travelling down to London I was more than a bit overwhelmed by the volume of people...everywhere! My rural ways had me waiting at the opening tube doors politely letting everyone else on before me, then when the doors shut and I was left standing on the platform I quickly realised I had to get a grip and be less hesitant.
Once on the tube I would observe (trying not to stare!) all the different people, busying themselves in case they had to look at another bored traveller on their journey. In the early years of my London trips I would sit quietly on the tube and no matter who sat next to me, and no matter what they did I would stay glued to my seat. My head would tell me it would be impolite to move...sometimes the anti-social behaviour would be completely unbelievable yet still I would sit there..good old headmind training telling me not to draw attention to myself, not to cause a scene, "He doesn't mean it! Try to ignore him!"
It was only when a man standing next to me nipped my bum that I realised it was time to stop thinking I had to be nice and instead take charge and look after myself! He claimed he, "Couldn't help it!" It was only afterwards I wondered what he would've done if I'd matched his involuntary hand movements with an involuntary lifting of my his groin.
Seven years on from my first trip to work in London whenever I'm travelling on a train (anywhere) I will pay attention to how I feel. If I feel at risk, or intimidated by a fellow passenger I get up and walk away to another carriage, or move to another seat. By quietly paying attention I stop being nice in favour of being safe.
"The greater the fear the nearer the danger." - Danish proverb

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