Sunday, 29 April 2007

Bums on seats, luvvie

An inevitable effect of living in Asian countries is to confirm Westerners have big bums. Asians have narrower average hip widths and hence the compact MRT seats which their molded dimples in a bench design, installed down the sides of train carriages. Anyone sitting there becomes part of a sort of bum-width-analogue-computer. One big bum can be accommodated with a bit of squeezing up and elbow tucking. Two big bums near each other and it gets uncomfortably squashed for most locals.

The prized seats are the end ones (as in Japan) since you only have one neighbour and hence more personal space and half the contact with strangers. It was such an end seat that the amply-proportioned Indian lady spied and determined to settle into. She had the right idea. Approach sideways, slide in and rotate to settle the bum into the seat. All assisted by the colourful, frictionless silk sari. And for a moment, it looked like it had worked with the bum computer re-calculating everyone's position.

And then she released her held breath.

The computer crashed. Without any drama, a traveller a few seats down suddenly decided their stop was coming up and went to stand by the doors creating a gap. The computer rebooted and cultural requirements for personal space were restored. You just don't get this quality of vicarious enterntainment in taxis or cars.