Personal space: not rocket science

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There were a few shoppers perusing the pharmacy section, and I occasionally had to shift left or right to stay out of their way. One particular woman either didn’t see me standing in front of her, or simply did not care, as she nearly plowed me over on her way to the allergy medicine. We were both masked up, but she would have been way too close for comfort even before I’d ever heard of COVID-19. Because she rushed forward so quickly, I didn’t really have time to properly get out of her way, so I just tried to squeeze to the side and keep my feet away from the wheels of her cart.

It wasn’t much of an incident, but it did get me wondering if we as a society will have learned anything about personal space whenever this pandemic is well and truly behind us. We’re over a year into this ordeal, and yet people still do not seem capable of recognizing that those around them deserve at least an ounce of consideration. Likewise, there is no prize for racing to a self-checkout machine as the shopper ahead of you is still shoving their bags back into their cart. How much time does that really save you in the long run? Three seconds? Five? Congrats.

It’s OK to leave a few steps between you and the guy in front of you in the line at the bank. Nobody is going to suddenly leap between the two of you, and even if they do you can push them to the back of the line based on Article Five, Section Three, Paragraph Two of the No Cutsies Accord of 1957. Personal space should not be akin to rocket science. Just imagine everyone has a personal bubble around them, and stay the heck out of mine.

You’d think that a deadly virus that spreads via close contact would be enough to cause a seismic shift in society’s views on personal space. But in practice it seems like it just made those who believe in it more likely to crave more of it, and those who don’t more likely to lick the cashier at McDonald’s. Some people like to believe that those of us who believe in personal space are weird for not wanting strangers close enough to know exactly what brand of deodorant we used that morning. These people are idiots and oddly the ones least likely to be wearing any deodorant at all.

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