Tribes

I’m anti-social on pubtrans. About a month ago I settled down on the high speed line, pulled out my book, and hoped no one would sit next to me. Someone did, a woman who passed by several other empty aisle seats before sitting next to me.

And a part of me was annoyed by that. But I completely understood the calculus. The other free seats were next to men. And though there’s probably not going to be any sort of hassle, sitting next to another woman feels like extra insurance.

So when she sat down, I felt a certain kinship. I wondered to what extent she was frustrated by the fact that she had to waste a few extra spoons deciding where she should sit. If she ever felt she was behaving in an unenlightened sexist manner. If she ever felt like she was betraying some sort of feminist duty by taking the easy way out. If she was socialized to the point where she didn’t even question it.

And then she pulled out a copy of A Game of Thrones. My annoyance dissipated and I turned back to Best Served Cold. The imagined camaraderie of feminists tired after a day of work and the constant weight of male privilege paled beside the imagined camaraderie of tired feminist fantasy geeks.

I have no idea if I correctly identified her seating calculus. And maybe she wasn’t really a fantasy geek, just someone who picked up the book because of HBO’s marketing blitz. But I like to think I’m right, and I have no evidence that I’m wrong. She didn’t say a word, and I’m anti-social on pubtrans.