Personal Space

Denver International Airport

I have written before, how I have an affinity for making friends, especially on airplanes.  I have also had one terrible experience on an airplane so while I try to be open to the idea of meeting new people, I also have my headphones at the ready.

This last week, I was waiting to board my plane for home.  It was just a normal Monday evening, not too late, not too many people. In fact, they said there were going to be 25 open seats on the plane so I felt good about my chances of not being a sardine.

A few minutes after I sat down, a lady walked up and sat down leaving a seat between us.  I noticed she was carrying a pet carrier and then I saw it…She had a cat on a leash.

Okay, I admit I’m not a cat person (sorry Bhakti) mostly because I am allergic. While many people were stopping to pet the kitty and tell her how beautiful she was I am quite sure my face was saying otherwise. However, after a a few short minutes kitty proceeded to climb all over my purse!

WHAT? What is wrong with people? Other people think your cat is cute and they are petting it. Let your kitty go climb on their bags. I am two seats away and I am not even remotely showing affection toward your cat. In fact, I’m sure my face is saying, I HATE CATS because I know that I have very good non-verbal communication skills. I am leaning the opposite direction and toward the wall. It’s clear I do not want anything to do with you or you kitty. Yet, she clearly doesn’t understand non-verbal communication because kitty is trying to inspect my purse.

People, I have taken my precious pet, Stevie Nicks, on the airplane so I know what it’s like to to have your pet with you in an airport. However, I did not once pretend that other people might love her like I do. Now granted I was holding her like an infant in my cashmere wrap so she wasn’t very accessible. I guess you could say she, too, has amazing non-verbal skills and maybe people knew she didn’t want their love. Even if I thought someone looked like a dog person I WOULD NEVER let my pup crawl onto someone’s bag. What in the actual heck is wrong with people?

Clearly, I will have to throw this bag away because of cat germs. That is what I was thinking when I saw her coming down the aisle of the plane.  I sent out my best, NO WAY YOU CAN’T SIT HERE VIBES so she would keep walking.  I might have had two seats beside me, but they certainly were not available.

Once past that fiasco I assumed I was home free.  I put my headphones in, sat back and closed my eyes.  Suddenly, I felt something on my feet.  At first, I thought it might be my imagination or that cat!  No, the person behind me was trying to play footsies with me! Let me explain a few things.  This person not only had their feet under my seat, but they had them stuck all the way through to my foot space and they weren’t wearing any shoes. UGH! Put your stinky shoes back on your feet and for the love of all things sacred, please stop trying to play footsies with strangers on the airplane.  Nobody wants that, I promise you. I could not even bring myself to look behind me or make eye contact with whoever it might have been sitting behind me.  Some things are better left a mystery.

While I am already on a rant about boundaries and personal space might I also add that even in a public setting such as an airport you can still adhere to your own space.  There has never been a time, even on a crowded train, that I felt like it gave me clearance to invade anyone’s personal space.  I should NEVER have to endure a stranger’s breath or body odor because they are standing closer than necessary.

While waiting at baggage claim, I had two occasions in which people were standing so close to me that it was extremely uncomfortable.  If I had turned my head to see who was next to me I probably would have hit them with my nose, my chin or my hair.  That is too damn close.  Both instances made me so uncomfortable that I kept moving around the baggage claim.

Once I had my bag, I went outside to wait for my hubby to pick me up.  There were like 3 people waiting for rides.  The entire airport was dead.  As I stood there waiting, a man came out and proceeded to stand right in front of me, obstructing my view of the cars arriving.  Really?  What do you think I am doing out there with my luggage?  Keeping the sidewalk warm for you, sir?

So, I did what any self-respecting woman with zero tolerance for people and their lack of personal space would do.  I picked up my luggage and moved to stand right in front of him and then faced him and gave him my zero tolerance stare.  Hello, there is at least a half mile of sidewalk out here.  There is plenty of room for all of us and this piece of sidewalk is mine.  Move along, mister!

People, go home and brush up on your personal space protocol.  Practice if you must, but do not cross over into that invisible, but very important, no (wo)man’s land.  And if you do enter that space, know that you are doing so at your own risk.

Respect personal space, people!
Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G

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