There is a thin silk thread of an invisible boundary, about our things, that eludes others. There is, therefore, a similar thread of an invisible boundary, about things that belong to others, that eludes us.
The cautious stay a few feet away from the unknown invisible; some end up stepping on the invisible and the others walk in and out of the enclosures like a walk in a park on a nice spring day.
I have known of electrified fences, physical visible boundaries, that hurt those that attempt to cross. Jolt them into being where they should stop. Personal boundaries are the opposite. When crossed, they hurt the one being protected – the intruder often oblivious to the act of trespassing.
You don’t, for example, sit in the driver’s seat of a car, if it isn’t yours. Even if you can see that invisible boundary, you don’t venture permission to drive someone else’s car. The range of invisibility is a few conceptual feet ahead in space or behind. Very few who build these meshed fences ever tell you where they are; what they protect. The onus is on the trespasser.
Take books. Rather, don’t take books. That could be a boundary. Not everyone is happily comfortable lending books. If you do manage sneak through the barrier, it is worthwhile to understand why that wall came into place. Did someone else who borrowed a book once, blissfully forget to return the book? Did it come back to its owner with smeared butter and bread crumbs on page 52, as a token of gratitude? Perhaps, it is fine that I may dunk my book in a big bowl of stale curry; may not be equally excited if you did it.
Most of these things are comprehensible if you are aware of the people around you. Even if you can’t see the invisible, it isn’t very difficult to feel it. Sometimes, it can be impossible: to know what is personal.
Wallets and Watches.
Books and Cameras.
Computers and Music.
Phones and Towels.
Earphones and Purses.
The land-mines of personal paraphernalia. Some of them duds; some very potent.
Once upon a time it was just the toothbrush – the epitome of personal possession, passionately protected.