Archive for April 26th, 2007

Tales from the Gym – the Politics of Space

A happy, giggling group of stark-naked ladies came into the sauna bearing fruit and reading materials, thus breaking three of the “Thou Shalt Nots” posted on the sauna door. Alarmingly, though I was the lone person in an otherwise empty sauna, one of the ladies eyed a spot right next to me on the top shelf, climbed up, and settled in – less than six inches away! Now, I’m not only American, I’m Midwestern by birth and West Coast by choice – I feel right at home when VAST EXPANSES OF LAND are given over to me and my need for personal space. Clearly I have a bias. Still… less than six inches in an otherwise empty room? But, here’s the thing… as she was picking her way up to the top shelf she caught my eye, smiled, and shrugged as if to say “look at what we have to put up with to get the good spots”. And so, to my surprise, I found that I didn’t mind sharing the best spot at all. I guess my personal space requirements depend largely on the attitudes of those with whom I share.

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