Posted by: Daisy | May 20, 2009

Daisy needs her space

We know that everyone has their invisible personal space, right?  You know, the space surrounding us that we innately claim as “ours”.  It’s the space where when someone starts getting a little too close, we start backing away to increase that gap, so that once again, we sigh in relief that we still have our space.  What defines how much space is enough for the individual is not only culturally defined, it’s also up to the individual.  We all know people who ALWAYS prefer to be closer, and others who ALWAYS stand further.

I can only say that my space needs are average.  Afterall, who would ever honestly claim that I’m a Space Hog “why are you running away?”, or I’m a Distant Diva, “don’t get within 10 feet of me”.  Let’s just say for arguments’ sake I am average, whatever that may be.  So, when someone with average needs for space gets invaded over and over again, without extenuating circumstances (ie, I was not in a crowded elevator), what do you do?

Imagine the sweet little great granny in line behind you at the grocery store.  Imagine yours truly holding on to way too many items while waiting patiently for the cashier to ring everyone through.  Now, imagine what felt like her breathing on my neck if she were tall enough.  “Oh gosh”, I think, “please back off sweetie, because you’re so invading my space.”  I don’t know who I was praying to, but the discomfort I felt made the grocery line turn into a closed closet with way too many strange bodies nearby.

Here’s the strange thing – I am not claustrophobic.  Yet, for what seemed like hours, I felt what must have been the strangest anxiety I’ve ever felt in a grocery line.

It only got worse.  I felt a bump on my arm – you know, the one carrying way too many items.  And then another.  Then, I immediately thought she was trying to steal something from my purse (except my purse was on my other arm).  “Seriously, what’s up with you?”, I must have glared.  And I felt horrible for doing that because, my goodness, she’s a sweet little great granny.  However, my innate reactions could not be controlled.  I got bumped so many times, I’m sure I’ve got bruises to show for it.  At one point, I was almost tempted to drop my items on her toes which were also way too close for comfort to remind her to back off.

And it gets worse.  After I’ve placed the food on the belt and she’s bruised me a few more times, she reaches in front of me, right through my personal space.  She reached for the crazy stick which identifies where my food stops and hers begins, and in that moment, I could have had a third arm.  This act alarmed me so much I actually jumped and said something.  I wanted to scream, “STOP TOUCHING ME LADY!”, but instead said, “It’s OKAY!” and mumbled something else about there being plenty of time.  What I really wanted to do was take the stick and start beating little great granny’s arm away as I all of a sudden morphed into Diva Daisy needing a lot of space.

Breathe, Daisy, breathe.  It’ll all be okay in a few more minutes.

She continued to invade my space one last time as I tried to pay for my groceries and I finally ran out of there into the bright, sunny day.  The anxiety quickly dissipated as I walked to my car and realized her arm wasn’t still attached to me.

Tell me, what would you do if there is a next time?

– Daisy

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Responses

  1. I understand what you’re saying about her being a sweet old lady but sometimes I find that older people are just plain ruder than the rest of us. Perhaps they feel they have somehow earned the right. I’m sure I’ll feel the same when I reach that age. 🙂

    In the meantime do what I do. Be sickly polite whilst imagining that you’re bludgeoning them to death with their own groceries. 🙂

    Hmm, something to look forward to when we get to the ‘grand’ stage. I like the bludgeoning imagery. Perhaps I will get over my fear and simply drop my groceries on her toes afterall. – Daisy

  2. I smile sweetly and say ‘are you in a hurry? I will be as quick as I can.’ Then move some of her shopping back and spread mine out.

    Stop touching me!!! Oh, sorry. I guess I’m not over this yet and may need therapy for this one. – Daisy

  3. I find it helps to wear my “everyone has a mental illness” glasses. Helps me keep it all in perspective. 🙂

    Yes, she’s nutty. Not me. It’s not me. It’s not me. If you hear something in the news about someone threatening a little granny with a carrot, that’d be me. – Daisy

  4. I probably would have said something sarcastic like, “i’m not in your way, am I?” Unfortunately, there is nothing you can really do in a situation like that without looking like a total ass – especially if it’s a granny or a mom – they are a protected species I think.

    One trick that sometimes works for me is using the cart to put space between me and the offender. I just step in front of it, rather than behind it. Or you could switch grocery stores?
    Annie

    Ha ha. I wish I had a grocery cart.. but unfortunately, I didn’t. Unless I keep running into her or others like her, I doubt I’d switch grocery stores.. perhaps I’ll just grin and bear it, with the full intention of dropping my groceries on her toes if she or another comes along again. – Daisy


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