I found this passage in an article on cultural faux pas in NYC*, but I love it so much I just thought I should share it with everybody…I think it applies anywhere public, crowded or otherwise.
This one is absolutely vital – don’t interfere with others’ privacy. New York is a very crowded place. The way people deal with it is to create their own space. Thus, what outsiders often see as aloofness and isolation is, in fact, a sign of community; there is a shared ethos that everyone respects others’ privacy and expects others to respect his own. This is chiefly communicated through eye contact. If you stare at someone on the subway: if you linger in looking out your window into someone else’s bedroom; if you react to or interrupt a celebrity; or if you seem to be intentionally listening in to another’s conversation, you are violating one of New York’s most sacred unwritten rules. Keep yourself to yourself, buddy, and let others do the same.
I read this and automatically thought of the bus here in Victoria. Daily bus-commuters share this community of mind-your-own-business mindset. I can immediately spot people who aren’t used to taking the bus because they’re looking at people too much, talking too loudly or too much, or listening/trying to join in on conversations that have nothing to do with them.
Just something to think about next time you’re out in public.
*article found via Nubby Twiglet