Personal Space

Three days ago I was standing in line at my bank before the teller when he decided to take a little longer than he normally does. As I stood there waiting, a hand suddenly appeared from over my shoulder tapping the glass and telling him to hurry up, no response from the teller turned into another hand popping out from my side pushing a wad of notes and a bill underneath the glass. At this point I turned around and was shocked to see not some teenager but a respectable looking gent with glasses pressed up behind me who reacted most vehemently to my objection at him invading my personal space. In short he thought I was some Anglocised daft person who had funny ideas which were out of place in this country and that I should shove off to where I came from with such haughty thoughts.

Obviously the concept of personal space has been nonexistent in our society for the longest time. This is why women still feel uncomfortable going into  even slightly crowded places in this “Islamic” republic of ours and nobody thinks twice before interrogating whoever they feel for their status, financial or social or marital. The same exists online as well because to us social media means stalk media but what we do not get is that being behind a screen does not give anyone the right to act creepy even if they are. So for the sake of our collective sanity I thought I should impart a few pointers on what personal space means and how its sanctity should be protected.

If you are close enough for someone to know what you have had for the last meal, including the brand of your cigarettes as well as what deodorant you use or should use you are invading their personal space.

If someone can hear what you and your wife/gf/bf/lover like to say to each other while you are not together you are invading their personal space, I know public affection on the phone looks good in sitcoms but huddled together in a smelly elevator it gets a bit ..you know digitally inappropriate.

If you are staring at someone’s posterior like a lion stares at a deer before he lunges you are invading their personal space.

If you are enquiring about someone’s (insert choice from marital, physical, financial, gender) status to their face without the slightest idea of how revolting or invasive it is yes you are invading their personal space.

If you smile at people creepily from across enclosed spaces like an elevator, a store room a taxi you are sharing or the bus whether you mean to or not you are invading their personal space.

If someone accepts you as their friend on a social media network like say Facebook, it does not mean they have given you the right to dive head first into any personal conversation they might be having with their “real friends” so when you make that snide remark about their ex/current/family/kid you are invading their personal space.

When you sms someone a joke a day it’s funny, when you do the same 30 times a day you are invading their personal space.

When the person you are standing next to clutches their wallet or purse, you are invading their personal space.

If someone is stepping back as you talk to them because you are spitting in their face, you are invading their personal space.

If you know the addresses of someone’s close relatives or the places they usually hangout in without you actually knowing them, you are invading their personal space.

If you show up at someone’s office and will not leave for the next five hours because you think you might learn something from them you are invading their personal space.

So if someone glares at you or snaps open a newspaper in front of their face or builds a wall of books on the library table you are sitting on or just does not like the feel of your breath on the back of their neck consider it natural because you buddy are at fault. Back off a bit once in a while, it will help you out in the long run.

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AS PUBLISHED BY “THE DAWN BLOG” ON 9th nov 2010

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