Has anyone ever invaded your space? That sacred circumference around your person that you occupy! That place where you only allow loved ones and close friends to enter!
Someone did that to me yesterday at a bank; in the line as I waited to get to the cashier. And the worst part is – it was a man!
Let me just say – up front – I am a Jamaican and ( right or wrong) I am homophobic! I may lose some readers here; but it is my blog and if I cannot be honest on it – then exactly where am I going to be honest?
Picture this: it is month end and, as is typical in Jamaica, the bank is ‘ram-packed’and the line stretches beyond the usual allotted space. The banking hall is relatively small and the air is slightly musty. The effect of all these combined does little, if only to foster an unease among the customers.
Here am I patiently waiting in the line and allowing a decent space between me and the gentleman before me. Then, here comes this person behind me. Obviously I expect others to join the line and was therefore oblivious of their presence. Until I felt someone’s breath on the back of my neck! What the …….!
For a moment, I hoped it was a woman (I swear!). But, to my utter consternation – it was a man!
Now here’s the problem. This was not a rugged, unkempt person who one would figure just did not know better. (As if that would make a difference – it was a man!!!!). But he was fairly decent and by my estimation – he should know better!
I moved to the right – he was there! I moved to the left – there he was again. I uncomfortably inched closer to the gentleman ahead of me – only to find that he was ‘up close and personal’ and I was like – sandwiched between two men! Puppah Jeesas!!! I was freaking out!
It was the most uncomfortable half hour I can recall (and it seemed more like years).
The truth is, this is not the first time that something like this has happened to me. Although, fortunately, it happens mostly with women. Yet, it does not make the experience any more tolerable.
My space is my space – respect it; unless you are invited in.
I suppose if I carried myself in an unkempt manner and reeked of unpleasant odour – people would probably stay farther away. But, I shudder to think of that as a credible solution.
As I shared my story with a good friend; she recalled being on a crowded bus with a young man planted behind her — quite typical for public transportation. And try as she may, she could not dislodge him. I think too many of our ladies have had to endure this physical assault on their persons in such situations. And they are the main targets for unscrupulous men.
Of course, I too have been in similar situations (fortunately with women) and where I could not move – at least the poor ladies were aware – from my behaviour – that I was in no way trying to impose myself on them. I remember one particular incident, where (my) nature also presented itself, and the poor lady just smiled – recognizing that there was nothing either of us could do … except endure the ride. My embarrassment was acute; I could barely look at her and quickly disappeared into the waiting crowd when I reached my destination. My stop that is!
But, that having been said; and my own homophobic prejudices aside – how can someone not recognize that they have stepped into and are invading another person’s space?
I pray to God though that the man was a fairly well-dressed ‘buttoo’ and not a (you know what)!
Walk good, ’til next time …