To the man standing behind me in the checkout line at Ralphs, I wasn’t moving up to give you room to move up, I was trying to get away from you. If my ponytail is swinging in the wind of your breath, you are way too close. Please develop a sense of personal space, if not for yourself then for me. I’ve always thought of you and others of your ilk (because it is so super fun to use the word ilk), as evil, inconsiderate, serial killers, but it finally occurred to me that you just don’t get it. You have no idea that you’re making me (and others, lots of others, I can’t be the only one), crazy.
To the people who like to come up behind me in the bread aisle, please don’t hover. I glance back and you’re pretending to look at bread, but you are so abnormally close that I know something else is going on. There’s just no legitimate reason to peruse groceries over someone else’s shoulder. And you’re breathing all over me and my potential bread. And now my insides are screaming and my own breathing is a little off kilter, but at least I’m keeping it to myself, and part of me is sure you’re back there arranging your garrote, so of course, I can’t even focus enough to decide what kind of bread to get, which shouldn’t be that hard because I have three bucks, so I’m getting the bread that costs less than that. But I’m kind of panicking, so I leave without the bread and have to go back when you’re gone, or I grab the bread that I don’t want (the four dollar bread), and have to take it back when you’re gone.
To the guy who touched the seat of my bike when you were making room for yours, it was like being felt up by a stranger, and not in a good way, and yes, I know the difference. Not really, of course I don’t, that would be so slutty. Unless I was drunk. Or on the subway. I wonder if you ever think of me.
To the person who once sat next to me in a movie theater during a matinee when there were like five people in the entire place, what the fuck were you thinking? Why would you even want to share an armrest with a complete stranger when there are thousands of unoccupied armrests for the taking? What sick joy do you take in struggling to maintain your fair share of armrest, while avoiding that other person’s arm, always aware that the two are a tiny shift away from shameful contact? And contact can’t happen. Because then there’s the waiting, arm touching arm, until someone can move away casually, because if anyone yanks their arm away, they might as well stand up and scream that the other person is repulsive, which is what I want to do, not because it’s true, but because I’m totally freaked out by random contact with strangers, especially when I’ve been obsessing about it through seven previews. On top of that, I’m holding in all my anguish because I’m worried it would be hurtful. There’s just no way to concentrate on a movie with all that going on. This is why I still don’t understand the Matrix. Never sit next to a stranger if there is some other option. Obviously. Because that happened like twenty years ago and I still think of you whenever I go to a matinee, so thanks for the trauma.
I get that this is me. (And lots of other nice people.) In my head I understand that we all have a right to be in the bread aisle at the same time, even though there’s really not room, and I was there first. And guy from Ralphs? Maybe someone was standing too close to you, and you were just trying to split the difference, so I forgive you. This time. See how rational? I get that other people can stand shoulder to shoulder, side by side, top to bottom, front to back, and now I’m thinking of a particularly uncomfortable family photo. Not mine. It’s in one of those books. It’s not that I don’t love my fellow humans. It’s not. IT’S NOT. I’d just prefer to love them from afar, with no touching. Unless I’m drunk.
Also, the family photo thing reminded me of the family at Disneyland who were all wearing the same shirt, the only similarity being that these behaviors are equally incomprehensible to me. Their shirt was bright yellow and had their last name printed on the back, at least I assume it was their last name, but you can’t really ask because it would be rude and uncomfortable, and if I was going to talk to a strange family at Disneyland wearing matching shirts it wouldn’t be to ask if that was their last name printed on the shirts, it would be to ask, “WTF is up with the matching shirts?” Is it a form of bonding, that you may love each other all the more? Is it in case you don’t recognize your family, like if someone gets amnesia in the middle of the park? If that’s the case I don’t think a lot of people would have the presence of mind to check the back of their shirt for a last name, and I’m including myself. Is it to label themselves as a group to the rest of us, so no one bitches when the stragglers come blundering through the 45 minute line to catch up with the others? Actually, that one makes sense, so I’m quitting here. I didn’t mean to go on so much about the ugly family shirts. Oh yeah, they were spectacularly ugly. Not one of them is going to look good in the vacation pictures. But in their defense, not one of them stood inappropriately close to me.