Friday, April 3, 2009

Pet Peeve: Personal Space Invaders

Taking a cue from a fellow mom blogger, I decided to be more transparent and share some of my neurosis. This is by no means the worst I have done. I am getting better about holding my tongue. Until it's absolutely necessary not to.

Those of you who know me will be thinking, Yep, that sounds like Melanie. Thank you if you think that and still love me. I love you back!!

I hate personal space invaders. (I feel guilty using the word "hate" when referring to other people but sometimes it just can't be helped.) You know who they are. They're usually in a hurry with a loaded cart talking on their cell phones. They're close enough to be able to tell if you showered that day, wore deodorant and perfume, and if your roots need done. I actually feel homicidal when these people get behind me. I tend to lose my religion. If my husband is with me and senses the volcano is about to erupt, he gets between me and the offender to ward off any impending violence.

Note: If Daniel Craig or Zac Efron were behind me, the personal space rules do not apply and please, let it not be after I've just worked out.

The most recent incident of a personal space invader was at the animal clinic last Wednesday. The clinic/shelter was remodeling and didn't want any walk-in traffic so they locked the door. Whoever was last in line opened it for the next person arriving to pick up their pets from surgery.

Said offender was the last one there and I kindly let her in. She proceeded to stand right behind me--we're talking a matter of inches, like less than six--and talk on her cell phone, loudly, I might add. They usually do. I did not move immediately because then I would be invading the personal space of the woman in front of me. I was annoyed but tried to let it go and talk to my daughter while we waited.

That didn't work.

I then made a point to step back and lean toward her in the hopes my non-verbal attempt would tell her "You need to back up." She wasn't smart enough to get the hint. So,I decided to move up to get my space back. Every time I moved up she moved up. I eventually broke my own rule and moved up closer to the woman in front of me.

You guessed it...she was on my heels. I stepped out of line, turned around and said, "Would you like to go in front of me?" She looked at me dumbstruck so I repeated myself as I motioned forward, "You can go ahead of me." She first looked happy but then must have seen the look on my face.

This was when she questioned me. I told her she was standing right on top of me. I told her I don't like it when people are in my personal space. And, yes, I did the hand motions like Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing when he's teaching Jennifer Grey how to dance.

All the while, I was calm. I realize some of you will not believe me. To you, I say: pbbbbbth!!!!

What she said next still has me baffled. "Well, I've had the worst day." I can't figure out what that has to do with me offering my spot in line to get her off my back. She refused to move up and then proceeded to huff and puff and carry on. But, guess what, she stayed back.

I had to laugh...though only in my head so as not to antagonize her further. She couldn't stop though. I began to wonder if she had a hairball for all her sputtering.

I have yet to think of a snappy, to-the-point, one-liner for these invaders. When someone is staring at you, there's the old stand-by: "Take a picture; it'll last longer." But what do you say to someone who insists on breathing down your neck, bumping into you with their cart or yakking in your ear? Seriously, any advice will be stockpiled like ammo.

While you're pondering, read this post from the aforementioned mom blogger who shares my sensibility.


Amanda said...

You go girl! I am with you. Great blog by the way!

Megan said...

How brave of you to let her know how you felt. I would have just allowed myself to get madder and madder and then vented to the next person I talked to.

In His Peace, Bobbie said...

Love it, but I always love your writing and you handled yourself well, I couldn't help but think of the zoo and the woman who almost hit you! : ) Thanks for sharing Bobbie