Taking the MRT today, I ran into a very serious problem — the problem of not knowing where to put my hands.
Leaning against the wall of the train, self-consciousness suddenly overwhelmed me. I started getting uncomfortable as I struggled to find the proper place for my hands.
Something I used to do unconsciously, my conscious mind simply could not figure out where my hands usually went.
Scanning the rest of the train, I looked out for models I might follow — other passengers of who were also standing, but whom showed no signs of the distress I was in.
Some were holding bags — I didn’t have a bag. Some were reading books or magazines — didn’t have those either. Some held on to the vertical bars for stability — where I stood had no bars. Some held their lover — I was alone.
In other words, there was no one I could really follow. People who had none of the above-mentioned were sitting down! So what did people standing without those things do?
I thought about how people stood in queues, but no picture came to mind — all I saw were people holding something, like bags or their children’s hands or anything really.
Just what is the proper way of standing in public empty-handed anyway?
See also Train of Thought, about a dilema one faces when a crowded train is suddenly almost empty.