I hope you all had a good Fourth of July weekend. Time is flying by…I am telling you…before you know it…we will be talking about winter holidays.
This weekend I felt like I was part of some social experiment as both a participant and an observer. Let me explain.
Went shopping with a friend of mine on Sunday and the store we were in was a little crowded. We had to wait in a line and there was a guy behind me, my friend, and another woman. He had a big box of some kind…maybe a coffee maker something like that. Now doesn’t this always happen? A new cashier opens up and instead of allow us people who had been waiting to come into that line…she asks the guy to come over who was at the back of the line. At least this is what we saw. So my friend laughs about it in astonishment with the lady in front of her. And I am just standing there minding my own business. The man hears the giggles and what was being said about him and turns around and my friend is all silent now and no eye contact. But the dude makes eye contact with me all right and is mad He starts mouthing off to me that if I have a problem with him being checked out it wasn’t his fault…it was the cashier who told him to be there and so on. And the cashier…she is not saying a word.
Seriously? Hasn’t this happened to you at least once?
I wanted to point out my friend and say…she is the one saying stuff! Not me! But something about his stare down made me channel my inner city girl and there I was with one hand on my hip and yelling back, “I AIN’T SAYING NOTHING TO YOU!” While my dear sweet friend was cowering I was ready to smack the chapstick off this guy.
In retrospect I looked at this situation and had to laugh. What is it about crowds and lines which makes the best of us want to rear back and slap someone? I actually was amused by the circumstance until the guy was acting aggressive towards me for no reason. It was like this trickle down effect of hostility. The cause? I think the too close proximity of other people makes many people feel uncomfortable. You add the added element of the injustices inherent in waiting in line and you are brewing up some trouble.
The next day the social experiment continued in a restaurant which shall remain nameless but let’s just say they serve a lot of cheesecakes. I don’t know why this restaurant does this but they have some rows of tables where you are right up against other people. I know they want to serve as many people as possible but it get ridiculous when you can’t get up from your chair to go the bathroom unless you bump into someone.
The other factor involved in such a scenario is the size of the person sitting at the table. A big muscle bound guy is going to need more space than a little ten-year old girl. We were wedged tightly between two energetic families with teens and toddlers when we witnessed a disaster waiting to happen. They sat an extremely large-set couple at a very tiny table at the end of the row next to two prissy looking elderly ladies. The older ladies looked liked they were just about sitting in the lap of the couple. It was such an awkward situation. Both parties didn’t know where to look and so there was lots of looking up or to their side. The tension of this too-close seating arrangement was too much for the two women and they simply left their menus and softdrinks on the table and just left. It made me feel…bad.
Then when one of the families left and the table was opened by us, it was shown to two teen girls. They looked at the table…looked at us and said they didn’t want to sit there. “Do we have cooties?” I said after they left.
One older couple made a mad attempt to sit in an unoccupied booth. The hostess gently told the couple that there were not enough servers and they would have to move…to one of the lesser desired tables in our row. This was enough to make the man hunker down and refuse to give up his booth. “He’s a squatter!” my husband joked. The manager was called over and there were many words exchanged. The man won out in the end but for the rest of their dinner…the couple remained stonefaced and sour. Fighting over a booth takes it out of you I guess.
While it was an interesting experience in some ways to watch human behavior play out in this microcosm, it was also very anxiety provoking. By the end of our meal I couldn’t wait to get outside even into the heat. I needed my space!
My question for you is:
Do crowds make you feel uncomfortable, anxious, or even hostile? What happens when someone invades your personal space physically or emotionally (someone yelling at you or staring you down)? Or are you a person who doesn’t mind crowds or being physically squeezed next to others? Do tell all! I would love to hear about your experiences.
I hope everyone is having a good week so far. Feel free to share what is going on with you in a sharepost or comment. You know we always enjoy hearing from you.
I am a mother, a writer, and now an MS patient