Addressing Vulnerability – Kelsey

Today in class we did a special exercise addressing the fact that people in an elevator will always move as far away from each other as possible. We and a partner (or group of three) had to sit with our knees touching for about 30 seconds.

We weren’t allowed to look away.

In this situation we were all feeling slightly uncomfortable. It was interesting the way people reacted. Some people looked at the clock, while some looked at our teacher Mr. J and others were in another place simply by thinking about something else.

Afterward we had a talk about how people felt. Some felt uncomfortable but I said I felt awkward because I was in a group of three and it was hard to figure out who to look at.

Mr. J said that this was like being in an elevator with complete strangers. You all move maybe unconsciously to other areas of the elevator. Some stand with their arms crossed in order to feel more secure and protected and others stare at the area ¬†near the top of the elevator where it shows what floor you’re on or passing.

Mr. J said that one of his friends pretends to text so that he doesn’t look so awkward at bus stops or while waiting to meet friends. Then Mr. J brought up a very intriguing point. He said “did people in the 1930’s need phones to keep themselves less vulnerable? Maybe one of the reasons we invented the cellular phone is so that we can hide from other human beings. The way you got news in the 1930’s was by talking to people on the street and the way you found out about people wasn’t by phone but by talking to them.”

He brought up another good point. When there’s nothing to say people talk about the weather. It’s a neutral subject that doesn’t take much revealing of private things. Another is – most commonly at the hairdressers – school. People can ask you about your courses, your grade, what you like about school and they don’t have to worry about whether they are invading your privacy.

One of the things it reminded everyone of is being on a bus. If there is one seat left open right next to you people will go stand at the back. One of my classmates mentioned that on the bus the window seats are always taken with a row of seats down the inside empty and people will be standing at the back. It’s an interesting thought.

If you got on a popular bus you could do an experiment and see where people sat and which seats stayed empty.  I think that this subject was really interesting. It caught my attention and all that I could do was think about what was being said and making connections to my life