astronaut, moon landing, flag, territory, mark territory, mine

Get off my chair/sunbed/treadmill: Why are we so territorial?

As I staggered into the gym one thought and one thought alone blew across my mind: SOMEONE IS ON MY TREADMILL. The same thing is liable to happen on the second morning of my stay in any ‘sun hotel’: SOMEONE IS ON MY SUNBED. You can guess the rest so I’m not going to shout. Spied through the window of my new favourite restaurant: Someone is sitting at my table. Arriving at a house I have visited once before: Someone is sitting in my place. Territory. My territory. There is a real sense of panic and loss if ‘my’ space is ‘stolen’. It makes me stressed and stressful to be around. A maniac, basically.

It’s all about feeling safe, I suppose. Feeling held in some way – as if a sunbed can do that. Feeling as though I have a place in the world because my skin and my brain and the framework of my personality do not lend themselves to a sense of security. I am clinging by my fingernails to control or… or… or what? Chaos will reign?

And I want to be special. I don’t want to feel usurped. If you take my chair will you take my relationship? If you take my treadmill will you burn my calories and take that burn for yourself? Mine. Mine Mine.

None of this is explicit at the time. Obviously. At the time it is just mild discomfort followed by a silent self-talking-to. But I look at the world as territory and I crave tiny pieces of it just for myself. Otherwise, where do I belong?

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