“Would you like to sign this?” my friend asked another stranger.
“Excuse me?” the stranger asked, a little startled.
“Well, you’re standing so close to me, I figured you could help me.”
My friend was in a supermarket buying groceries and the lady behind him was standing so close, he barely had any elbow room to complete his purchase.
The Magical Bubble
Everyone has a bubble of space. And when people venture uninvited inside this bubble, it makes for a very uncomfortable experience.
Everyone hates it when someone tailgates them while driving. The same applies (at least for me) when someone is engaged in people-tailgating (or bubble bursting, as I’ll call it).
When I’m in that supermarket line, I make pretty damn sure I give the dude in front of me his space. Often, however, the person behind me would ride my ass so hard that I come out of the store feeling sore and molested.
In fact, I can usually smell their breath, and that’s just too close for a perfect stranger. In those instances, I usually make quick and awkward movements to freak those out behind me so they will back up.
ATM Closeness… Freaky!
Ever been to an ATM at 11pm at night (yes, a bad idea in the first place)? Then some other person has the same bright idea, and he stands like one foot behind you?
You almost want to ask the person to enter your PIN in for you (after you have gotten over the fear of him robbing you, of course).
Self-checkout at supermarkets is a miserable experience in the first place.
However, I “love” it when I’m checking out my groceries and someone is so close behind me, they’ll make small comments about the stuff I’m buying. Or, offer me “advice” when something isn’t scanning correctly.
The icing on the cake is when the person will start setting some of his groceries down on the self-checkout platform “before” you have even finished. The freakin’ nerve!
I just want to turn around and say, “Dude, I’m not buying your shit for you.” Just for the record, I would never really say that. I would just run into a corner and cry instead.
If you want to really irritate those behind you, right before you leave the self-checkout line, start the process for the next person and change the language to Spanish.
“Hiiiiii, I’m friieeeendly.”
How about the people that immediately violate your bubble? The person wants to speak to you, and decides the appropriate space is six inches from your nose.
At this distance, you can tell if he’s been plucking his nose hairs.
When this occurs, I back up. If he comes with me, I hold out my arm. If he gets offended, I kick him in the nuts (ok, I don’t really do that, but I think about it quite a bit).
One of my lady friends was absolutely perfect at getting people to back off. If someone was too close, she’d just light up a cigarette. In another instance, she’d wave her arms and say, “See? BUBBLE! Don’t break the BUBBLE!”
My “close encounter” experience
One time I was in an Office Max buying some boxes since I was preparing for moving.
While carrying these boxes, I carried them in such a way that the back edge of the boxes were about 2 feet behind me.
As I was waiting in line, a mother-daughter bubble-bursting team decided to get behind me. I just absolutely knew they were the bubble-bursting type.
Without even moving once, I suddenly felt a jolt in the boxes. The mother had decided she wanted to get close to me for some strange reason, and my new box bubble gave her a jolt and said, “Nope, this is where you stop woman!”
As I neared the front of the line, I felt yet another jolt. This time it was the little girl (I kinda felt bad about it, but not really).
Finally, I was at the cashier, and the two bubble-bursters decided to get immediately behind me.
However, as the transaction finished, I had to take my two huge boxes and back out with them. Rather than get impaled by some boxes, the mother-daughter team scurried out of the way, and I left the store snickering in a devilish rage.
I had gotten my revenge on some bubble-bursters.