Sunday, March 27, 2016

Personal Space

It was a usual day. Not much happening. Well there were those guys on the front scraping my house and talking in a language that I didn’t assimilate in high school.
Others who invaded the space I normally live in disturb my routine.
As they did their assigned task and I retreated to the backyard, the to-do list got shorter.
The point was having people invade my ‘personal space’.
Our stress level heightens when our personal space is threatened. Think about all the preparations for a few hours at a backyard cookout or a baby shower. Our normal behavior becomes abnormal as we entertain invited guest. If we have uninvited guest we get even more stress and reach for the phone or the gun.
Perhaps living alone I cherish my personal space more than most. My internal clock is set on my routine and my habits and when another enters my space I have to dial up a different person. Not the same person I am every minute of every day that would, if seen by the outside world, probably be put in the funny farm, but the delightful chap who can mingle in mundane conversation and laugh at pathetic over-told memories.
Haven’t always lived this way. Had to cope with others in a working environment and even a couple of live-in folks. When you meet someone and decided to get serious, like serious enough to wake up together, then one must decided do I move into her apartment or does she move into my house? Then it becomes “our” personal space.
Some people seem to enjoy and maybe even thrive to survive in that situation. I’m not one of them.
Luckily, I guess, by circumstances beyond my control I was thrust into private life and have grown accustomed to having my own personal space.
So, like today, when others are invading my territory, even though invited and paid to be there, I get nervous. And when they leave, I can breathe again. I’ve noticed at the grocery store when someone comes up next to me to decide with help of another on the phone if they want to get the 8oz. or 12oz. size or the homogenize version, I feel threatened and move away. Sometimes I will come back to the spot. Sometimes I won’t.
I may have always been this way and now in my old age just realize it. Many a time I spent alone in my bedroom growing up. It was my sanctuary then and I guess I have my boundaries for my sanctuary now.
I’m not anti-people. Some of my best friends are people, but I enjoy my solidarity. Of course that means I have to have these strange conversations to myself without outside intervention. I haven’t learned to laugh at my own jokes yet.
I personally believe the acceptance of other’s into one’s personal space began with dancing. The moves of my time were the cha-cha and the twist and the stroll that didn’t really require getting too close but did require a partner. It was mostly as way for wound up teens to get out their energy while being overseen by chaperons.
Then there were the slow dances. Every night at every dance at every occasion there was ‘the slow dance’. All these hot sweaty teens could slow down and wrap themselves around each other. This was a real invasion of personal space and it was welcomed with soft whispers and the smell of her hair and a possible slip of a hand while the bodies grinned together.
All that friction can lead to a girl inviting you to enter her very personal space and that is what makes babies so I’m told. That changes everything.
So with a few more strangers coming by to do some chores I don’t seem to want to accomplish but will pay someone else to do, maybe by the end of summer, I can sit quietly in my personal space again and listen to the silence.
Maybe I can learn to laugh at my own jokes.

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