So this is an “in between” post inspired by recent retail encounters. I’m not Claustrophobic (fear of tight spaces) or Enochlophobic (fear of crowds), I simply enjoy a modest amount of personal space and respect others personal space.
We’ve all been in a line and felt the person behind us breathing on our neck or been cut off or forced off course by a passerbyer while walking in otherwise open space. I call these people space invaders! I swear some people do this consciously, others unconsciously; regardless it has the same annoying effect. I’m not talking about navigating a packed school hallway or the mosh pit at a rock concert, I’m talking about the truly unnecessary violations of space.
What the heck is wrong with these people? For crying out loud, this is Canada, we have a population density of 3.5 people per square kilometre, it’s not uncommon to drive more than 100 kilometres between gas stations on a road trip and 95% of our land mass is uninhabited! We are not wanting for space! So where does this obsession/compulsion come from?
Admittedly I can be somewhat of an antagonist when the mood suits. Next time you’re standing in a line and you want to piss off the space invader behind you, try one or all of the following. Leave lots of space between yourself and the person in front of you. I like to exit the realm of personal space (1.5 – 4 feet) and venture into social space (4 – 12 feet). Within seconds the sighs and moans are audible and if you maintain that space long enough, the really brave might even ask if you’re waiting in line. A classic is the drop and hip check. Purposely drop something at your feet and quickly bend down while taking a step back to pick up your item making sure to drive your butt/hip into the space invader in the process. A personal favorite of mine is dominos. Take a step backwards ensuring you step on the top of the space invaders foot. Using your body to knock them backwards off balance quickly step off their foot and watch the dominos fall.
Sound extreme? Perhaps. So is the extreme annoyance caused by inconsiderate people. If you are or think you may be one of these people, please take a moment next time you’re in a line or walking in public to not just be cognisant but respectful of your surroundings. In doing so, you not only help yourself but everyone else around you. Consideration of others, and by extension their personal space, is a lost act of civility but when exercised has the ability to affect far reaching positive change. Give it a try!