On Being Personal

By Christina Eichorn

Dear Macalester,Please encourage students, faculty, and staff to mind personal belongings and personal space. Little things that cause high anxiety to an outspoken minority of us can easily be fixed without strenuous active decisions from the offenders. I am writing to you in order to plead that you consider those around you, especially those with whom you are not acquainted.
I write because I have now fallen victim of some stranger touching my personal belongings and eating my food without my permission. I realize now that my environment (the campus) is not a safe place for my things to be, even if I am present. I understand and empathize that not everyone grew up with the saying “If it is not yours, don’t touch it.” I also understand that if my things are an inconvenience to you, you should be able to move said things. However, entering a room of the campus center and touching the things in someone’s bag should not be permitted. I should not have to worry about someone putting their hands on my things when I place my bag down on the floor. And should this happen anyway, a simple apology or introduction would have been greatly appreciated. Unfortunately, dear Macalester, this was not the case in my particular situation.
Another common misconception is how close one can stand next to a stranger at the Grille. Since when did I require a hawk lurching at my shoulder while I am trying to order? Can I have some space please? I understand that it is a small gathering that can easily become crowded. This being the case, I am willing to excuse and cope with shoulder-to-shoulder lines. While I am ordering is a completely different situation. I bring this up because in some restaurants and shopping places, some people are required to enter their PIN into a PIN pad. This number is supposed to be kept secret and standing too close to a person using one of these pads is highly suspicious. So back off!
I understand and admit that I am a very personal person. I am very personal with my close friends, my media, and my things and I am easily irritated when that personal space is invaded. I have also heard complaints of other victims and have seen other violators offend people I do not know. The case being that I am not the only one upset, I decided on exposing the situation. The anxiety caused by these situations can effortlessly be avoided if everyone on campus takes a step back from people they are not familiar with so that the stranger does not take offense.

Christina Eichorn ’11 can be reached at [email protected].