You know how some people don’t seem to grasp the concept of personal space? The colleague who leans right into your face while laughing at his own joke or making a point… the relative who stands micrometers from you while catching up with you over the holidays, the easier for you to breathe in the wine breath fumes… the person in the convenience store line who seems to feel that if the front of their shirt lightly brushes the back of yours, it will get them to the checkout counter faster.
My most recent interaction with a Personal Space Invader happened in the TSA line at the beginning of my most recent business trip. The line wasn’t long. People were being moved through at a decent clip. The woman behind me didn’t seem to be in a particular rush. Yet she clearly felt the need to stick close to me. Quite close. Arm constantly brushing my back close. Breath on my shoulder close. Oh yes. Yes she did.
In response, I found myself standing more and more like a superhero. Legs wide. Hands on hips, elbows jutting out at my sides. I was a moving, walking, welcome-and-comfort-free-zone.
|My superhero stance - my vantage - with Personal Space Invader's toes visible at left. Bear in mind, I have short legs. My stance, with normal size legs, would be maybe 7 feet wide.|
|How I envision I looked to others in the TSA line. (image c/o gossiprocks.com)|
|Probably closer to how I really looked to others in line. Sans truth lasso.|
Of course, as each person made his or her way past the TSA agent, the line would move. And Personal Space Invader and I would move with it. She, trying to edge closer. Me, with my hands remaining firmly on my hips, taking large, stiff steps. People must have wondered if I had a back or hip condition.
Fortunately, after being granted access to the gates by the TSA agent, Personal Space Invader chose a different scanner line than the one where I was. But for a brief moment in time, she was mine. My Personal Space Invader. (I think there’s a song waiting to be written about this…)