Don’t Stand So Close to Me

I have personal space issues.

Before I get into that, though, let me give a nod to a fellow blogger I’ve recently discovered.  Check out Poop On A Hot Tin Slide–it’s a humorous look at a (not so) humorous condition, namely, a mom with OCD and serious germ-o-phobia.  Jo, the author, has some lists on there of some of the stuff she does, and as I’ve been reading it the past few days, I’ve had a lot of insight into my own personality disorders.  Have you ever heard the expression, “The inmates took over the asylum?”  The gist of it is that instead of the mentally well people making the mentally unwell people better, everyone ends up mentally unwell.  The shorthand version? Crazy is catching.

So anyway, I’ve been reading this great blog and laughing a lot, because the only other alternative is to cry.  I’ve started analzying some of my own little idosyncracies, and I came across another one today.

I went out by myself for a little while today, and one of my treats for myself once a month or so is a bean and rice wrap from Sheetz and some of that Green Machine juice.  So I was standing there waiting for my order, along with several other people, when suddenly the group was joined by a Space Invader.  Oh, you know what I’m talking about.

I wasn’t moving, just standing there, and here comes this guy, and he stood right beside me.  Now, it was fairly crowded, but not so much so that there wasn’t some other place for him to stand.  He was literally within a foot of my right arm. 

Don’t get me wrong–there wasn’t anything wrong with the guy or anything.  He wasn’t dirty or smelly or creepy or anything.  He was just a regular dude in tan shorts and a button-up shirt.  Obviously, though, he was a regular dude with no sense of anyone else’s personal space.  I could actually feel the waves of there-ness radiating off of him and hitting my right side.

Now I was in an uncomfortable situation.  My impulse, which was to flinch away and scuttle, crab-like, to the other side of the store, would have been quite rude.  I never want to hurt people’s feelings.  Like I said, it’s not like he was wiping his nose on my shirt or anything.  Still, I had to move.  He was a big, tall guy too, so that made his there-ness even worse.  His presence was literally buffeting me.  My body was acting on it’s own–I was fighting not to move away immediately.  I counted to ten in my head, and was that the slowest ten seconds ever, or what?!  Then I serupticiously wandered down the aisle behind me and pretended to be looking at the various snack foods.  I continued to wander aimlessly until my number was called, then I beat a hasty retreat to the sanctity of my van. 

I know, right? I know this is my problem, but I still wonder if some people are really that oblivious.  I think we should teach people from a very young age to respect a reasonable distance around others at all time, say six feet in all directions (give or take.)  This would, of course, make sporting events and concerts much more enjoyable, for me at least. 

I also can’t stand people who feel as though the only way their voice will penetrate your ears is if they have some sort of physical contact with you.  They have to put their hand on your arm or something in order to talk to you.  Trust me, my hearing is actually quite good, and I can hear you even if you are standing waaaayyyyy on the other side of the room.  Try it and I’ll show you!

Oddly enough, it really doesn’t bother me when my kids are close to me (as long as they don’t touch my face or hair.)  My daughter likes to sit right on top of me, and that’s fine.  She’s quite cuddly.  Of course my son is a pre-teen, so he’ s embarrassed if I’m in the same area code as him, and therefore the point is moot.  Hubby is fine, too, as long as I’m not over-heating, which unfortunately is pretty often.  We had a couple of really hot and humid nights right before the rain from Lee got here, and one night he rolled over and put his arm over me, and I said in this sort of devil-like voice, “I’m hot get your arm off of me!”  Sorry, babe.

Back to the Space Invader thing–they frequent check-out lines, too.  If you’re not careful, you can just be standing there, waiting in line and reading the covers of various tawdry magazines, and WHAM! one of them slips up and stands practically on your shoulders.  Shudder.  Luckily, I have found a pretty workable solution to this problem.  I stand in front of my own buggy in the check-out, thereby using it as a buffer between myself and the person behind me.  I also have good control over the space between me and the person in front of me, so there is an acceptable distance on all sides.  (I just have to remember to wipe the front rail of the cart as well as the handle when I first go in–but that’s another issue all together.)

So again, a big “thanks!” to Jo over at Poop on a Hot Tin Slide for reminding me that there are others out there who are as crazy……er…….unique as I am.  Oh, and also for freaking me out about the germs in my bath puff.

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