A man sat next to me on the bus the other night. The bus wasn’t crowded- there were plenty of free seats around me. It was late in the evening, the second last bus of the night. He sat next to me and, without reacting visibly in any way, I noticed all of those things. I saw the empty seats around me, I remembered that it was late and, from then on, began to take more detailed notice of my surroundings, very aware of exactly where he was, how he was sitting, where the closest other people were. I kept on reading my book- I wasn’t about to let some guy with a less than stellar grasp of social niceties keep me away from Emma Woodhouse- but I did keep a closer eye on my surroundings than I had been doing. As you do.
I’ll bet that’s familiar to most of you, right? A stranger invades your personal space in public in a minor way. You’re not scared or tremendously put out, but you do notice, and you do find yourself alert to the possibility that they might, possibly, follow the minor invasion with something a bit more substantial.