My Space

We’re awfully territorial for two-leggers. While ascribing the trait to those lower on the evolutionary scale, most likely we more than they are guilty of this.

Going to school, we each have our seat. And it’s always the same one, though there may be a bit of variation among classes.

The respect for this is mutual; trespassing rarely occurs.

Parking the car at work: we park in the same space. And then expect it to be “saved” for us while we’re out running an errand. On the boss’s time.

The parking space that we now select is the one where the likelihood of having doors dinged is least. Which worked for me for 18 months. Until a deer ran into my car. Producing a $3,500 ding.

Yet, it’s the pets, who we’ve done such a wonderful job of domesticating, that we observe with a lofty air of superiority, who are “creatures of habit.” None of us, for instance, repeats the identical route every trip inside the grocery store. Oh, no. We’re adventuresome. “Hey, I wonder what’s over in that aisle?”

The dog knows he’s not supposed to get on the bed. Until the people leave. And then it’s a free-for-all and nesting from one spot to the next is not only permitted, it is encouraged. Leave no space unscented must be the motto.

With the beginning of a new work season, all the old rules and habits have become obsolete. It is as though we had to re-invent society for each new generation, as measured annually, and there was simply no point in trying to pass down its traditions and rituals from one cohort to the next.

Last year, in an act of outrage bordering on personal insults about mothers, the experts-in-charge thought they’d shake things up a bit. Instead of starting classes on the hour, let’s adjust things a bit: 9 to 10; 10:10-11:10; 11:20 to 12:20, and so forth. All that was being done was advancing the start-time by ten minutes each class period.

One would have thought the impossible had just been demanded and a revolution was in order. And the loudest complainers were the PhD’s. (I didn’t check to see how the Mathematics faculty reacted to The Change.) Patient adults that we are, that scheduling fiasco lasted precisely a year. Now everything begins on the hour. Which means one should always arrive ten minutes late.

This season, a whole bunch of new people have shown up at work. They’re not really new; they’re new-to-this-workplace.

Which, of course, means some insist upon taking my parking place. No matter how early I get to work. Foreigners! Interlopers! Violators!

In acts of unbridled conceit, we people happily proclaim our superiority to those with flour legs. (The reason for this? It’s the punchline to the joke about the dog.)

Hey, they have four-wheel drive. Not us.

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