Manors on Buses

Manors on BusesPeople are funny, or as they say 'up north' in England, 'There's nowt so queer as folk!' We like our own space, don't we, but the size of that space varies from culture to culture. We are also creatures of habit.

This led me thinking about 'manors on buses'. No, not manners, I really do mean manors, in the sense that British policemen might call the areas that they patrol 'their manors' - his space. I think they still do. Criminals used to call their 'patches' their manors too.

If you are a regular commuter on a bus or a train, you will know that your fellow long-term travelers have their favourite seat as well. They like to sit in th same seat on every journey and always have done

If you happen to get in first and take 'someone's seat', you will feel them repeatedly looking at you. You might feel uncomfortable, but won't know what you've done. However, you have broken a tradition and spoiled someone's travel arrangements.

Similarly, their are manors in pubs and in parks. Some people consider it so important that that they sit in 'their place' that when they come in, they may stand before you, expecting you to catch on, or someone might say, 'Oh, move up a bit, that's old Bill's seat'.

Some bars mark the passing of a regular by putting a plaque on the bar where he stood or on the table where he sat. This practice may be dying out as old-style bars are revamped into either restaurants or garish, loud music bars.

Village pubs in Holland Germany are the true homes of 'the locals' table' - the 'Stammtisch'., which is often reserved for locals only with a sign. I have never been asked to vacate a Stammtisch, but perhaps I have been lucky.

These are comfort zones really, aren't they? Situations where there are often lots of strangers are less threatening, if we can sit in our own little manor or space - our own chair or seat.

However, families also do it. We tend to sit in the same chair or place. There is grand-dad's or dad's chair on the porch or in front of the fire or TV. Lounge suites (used to) come as two armchairs and a sofa - for mum, dad and the kids or visitors.

When people go for walks after dinner or with the dog, they tend to walk the same route around their manor. You often hear such people say, 'Oh, we went the other way around this evening for a change.'

Habit, custom and regularity make our lives less scary, because they keep us in our comfort zone or manor.

Trespassing into another person's comfort zone is seen as an infringement of good manners. However, we do not only have physical comfort zones, we also have mental, emotional, and occupational areas where we feel more at ease, which is why we feel more comfortable with old friends, which may or may not include the spouse and family.

by +Owen Jones