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People don’t seem to have a sense of personal space anymore these days. This “personal space” is roughly between 16 to 28 inches between you and the other person. I understand that in some cultures that space is reduce to about 3 inches, but not here. Unless you’re, like, really hot, and you’re single, and I’m, like, single, it’s, like, not cool.

Maybe it’s another pet peeve of mine, but it bothers me that these days, people are no longer aware of their surroundings – which might actually be a different subject than personal space, but I’m still going to write this post about it. If you’re my friend, or family, or partner, it’s fine that you step into my personal or intimate space. But if I don’t know you, or you’re just an acquaintance, please step back and know where I am (actually an ex-boyfriend of mine always lost his own sense of space and would step on my feet or walk into me, but that’s another story altogether).

The other day, my partner and I were at a local Costco doing our semi-regular shopping. People in public seem to have no sense of who’s around them (or, in reality, of anyone that’s around them). I’m talking about shopping carts, parking, walking, just about anything!

In just that one short shopping trip, we experienced drivers who cut us off; people shopping, who suddenly stopped in front of us – totally blocking the way – to hold a conversation with their family or to discuss things on the shelves; people who parked cock-eye’d in the spaces next to us, making it nearly impossible for anyone else to be parked between them; and people who turned and walked into us while they were looking in the opposite direction.

In what universe is this acceptable behavior from adults?

Years ago, a friend of mine told me a story from his childhood. He was the older brother who looked after his younger sister. Whenever he would take her for a walk, she would hold his hand and look all over the place – above her, behind her, next to her, but never actually watching where she was going. My friend would tell her over and over again, “You have to watch where you’re going so you don’t walk into anything!” But she wouldn’t listen. He finally got tired of reminding her, and having to steer her clear of obstructions; and the one day walked her straight into a hedge. She never saw it coming. She learned, however, to be aware of her surroundings.

She also learned never to trust her brother. But that’s a different story.

Meanwhile, back at Costco, my partner pulled into an available parking space near the front entrance. As I got out of the car, I notice that the person parked on the passenger’s side (yes, I was in the passenger seat, so I had the privilege to bitch, piss, and moan about his driving the entire way) was angled into our spot, and the person parked on the other side was also angled into our spot. That was just the beginning of a glorious morning of shopping.

Later, we ran into (quite literally) someone who was walking in our direction, but looking in the opposite direction (Where was that hedge when we needed one?). As we were walking through the aisles getting what we needed from our list, patiently walking slowly behind a family of 4 girls, cart in the middle, and two girls to the left of the cart, and two girls to the right of the cart creating a wall, when they just stopped in the middle of the aisle to gawk over something on the shelf they thought was interesting. We cussed them out patiently waited until they noticed there was someone else in the world and stepped aside.

I don’t know about you, but these are all things I learned when I was in kindergarten – to be aware of other people around you, and of your own personal space and those of others. Apparently, I must have gone to a school for geniuses, because either they didn’t teach that anywhere else, or people forgot starting it starting first grade.

After we finished shopping and got out of the store intact, we unloaded everything into the trunk. As my partner took the shopping cart back to the designated area (I usually do the adult thing and park it on the grassy dividers thus making the cart boys earn their living), I stood by the passenger’s seat with the door opened (the weather was nice that day) and noticed the owners of the cock-eye’d car on the driver’s side were also unloading their car. I just stood there nonchalantly watching the parking lot, when I noticed the older woman looking at the front of their car and noticing how her friend had parked. It was encouraging to hear her say to her friend as they were getting into their car, “Nice park job, Lady!”

Ah, yes. Justice at last.

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