As I got on the BART car, she was sitting on one of the side-facing bench seats, reading a book. Her bike was blocking a second seat. I asked if she’d mind moving the bicycle so I could sit down. She gave me a blank stare and moved the bike about four inches so I could squeeze past. Another passenger eyed the seat next to me, which the bike still blocked. He didn’t say anything, just gave her a look. She answered with the blank stare and moved the bike a few inches so he could sit. When the train left the station, the bike slid back into my seatmate’s legs. Bike-woman didn’t notice–she was alternately reading her book and fumbling with a pack of Kleenex and blowing her nose and stowing the used snot-wipes in a little basket on the bike. Then she noticed her bike was gouging into her fellow passenger’s shins. She pulled it back toward her so that now it was partially blocking the door.
When she went back to her book, I saw the title: “The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You.”
(Oh, and it turns out the highly sensitive thing is a pop-psych franchise. Here’s a self-test if you’re wondering if you have what it takes to be a potential bicycle-toting BART blockhead: Are you highly highly sensitive?)