My Space

My Space

marking my territory 

even temporarily 

happens without my awareness

an automatic act

will I share a table

with a stranger

in a crowded restaurant

a stranger who has already

marked it as their territory 

with a stare

a knapsack placed just so

<>

do I want an empty seat

on either side of me

when I fly

take public transit

sit in the audience

well – yes

unless I get to pick

who invades my territory

<>

dogs mark with quick squirts

an automatic act

that leaves a message

for any other dog to read

my territory

is only mine 

as long as I am there

no trace of me

is left behind

The other day I watched a guy walking his dog. The dog stopped frequently to mark their territory & couldn’t be deterred by its master, who smiled apologetically at me for being in the way. I envied the dog that sort of bladder control. I also wondered what it expected to do with the territory it had marked. The scent isn’t like a code that can be scanned telling other dogs to back off – all they do is piss on it.

Years ago I witnessed an altercation in a cafe when someone sat at an empty table with the coffee & sandwich. Moments later someone came to the table & said that that was their table – that they had just gone into give their order. The seated person said something toe effect that was too bad. The other said didn’t you see my knapsack on the chair. Swearing ensued & sadly the seated person relinquished the table. I was hoping for at least a drink being thrown.

One of few good things about pandemic distancing is the distancing. It makes establishing physical boundaries more culturally acceptable. When patios were opened it was no longer okay to crowd so many tables together than one and to hold their shoulder bag over their heads to avoid knocking things off the table next to them.

When it was possible (remember those days) to go to a public performance, or attend a workshop I would usually get a spot with good sight lines & away from groups of people. I was never one for sitting at the table, as it were. I liked my space. 


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