by Lillian Csernica on July 24, 2016
I really don’t like it when people sneak up on me. I have enough anxiety issues as it is. My son John once crept up behind me, poked me in the ribs, and said, “Boo!” He suddenly found himself staring at the floor with his arm up behind his back. I didn’t do it with much force, but I did it, leaving both of us surprised. I turned him loose and apologized, but I made it clear to John not only is it not polite to sneak up on people, it can be very dangerous.
This also explains why I almost never braid my hair. Every time I’ve ever done so, somebody will come up behind me and yank on my braid like it’s some sort of bell pull. My instincts say I’ve snagged my hair on something, which tends to kick off my fight or flight response due to that time way back when I was four years old and my long hair got caught in a floor fan. Nothing got cut off, but it took a long time to untangle and it hurt a LOT. What is the deal with this braid-pulling? It’s up there with people being compelled to pat a pregnant woman’s stomach. I don’t care if you “just really had to do it.” Hands off!
On a recent trip to the local Dollar Tree, I was standing there trying to remember one of the items I’d come to buy. Suddenly, right behind me, a man cleared his throat quite loudly. I shot up into the air as if I’d been stabbed with a hat pin. I jerked around and almost tripped over him. What on earth was he doing that close to me? He made some attempt at courtesy that still didn’t explain why he was standing well within my personal space. I got away from him, and nothing else came of it, so I didn’t feel a need to tell the manager. I remember his face. If I see him again, he will not have another opportunity to sneak up on me.
Tonight I was out buying groceries for the week. Put everything on the moving belt, pushed my cart forward a half step at a time as the line progressed. Out of nowhere there’s a guy leaning over my left shoulder. Turns out he was a cashier trying to decide which check stand to close next. So what? He could have taken three steps around me and get a better look at the situation! At the very least, a polite “Excuse me” was called for. What is wrong with some people that they just treat others like objects to be ignored or pushed aside?
I’m jumpy to begin with. I will freely admit that.
However, I’ve been given reason to develop a high-strung temperament due to sudden shocks of a physical and auditory nature. That tends to make one prone to being jumpy.
This is a bit of a psychological Moebius strip. Where does one part end and the other begin?
These are tough times. Caution and courtesy should be our watch words. There are a lot of people suffering from PTSD because there’s a hell of a lot of trauma happening, both visible and invisible.
How do your experiences compare? Do you see this kind of disregard for personal space? Let me hear what’s happening to you.