I have personal space issues. I am not sure when it began or how and why it progressed because I don’t remember always being this way. By nature I am an affectionate person and some people can bust through my bubble pretty easily but sometimes contact with people feels invasive. If you are among my closest friends don’t feel offended or worried that you may be smothering me. We both know that after a couple of drinks I lose my filter so chances are I would have said something sarcastic like “Are you trying to kiss me? You would have turned red and blurted out “No” and I would have said “then take a step back because I can see your tonsils when you talk and it is freaking me out!” I have on occasion though endured my discomfort for the sake of someones feelings. I always thought this was kind and mature of me until my friend told me she slept with a guy she wasn’t the least bit attracted to to avoid hurting his feelings. So, in some cases honesty or at least removing yourself from the situation is the best thing for everyone.
Last night I took my girls to the movies and I was happy because we had the entire back row to ourselves, or at least that is the way it began. Moments before the show people are filing in and crawling over me to get to seats. Thankfully there was still an empty seat separating my oldest daughter and her friend from the youngest and I, and there were two open seats beside us. I was so content I ate a box of glosette raisins before the movie even started. I was anticipating the entrance of Will Smith in tight pants when some late arrivals filtered in. Never mind that there was five empty rows to choose from, they sauntered up to our row and hung out awkwardly for what seemed like an eternity while they decided if they were going to sit there. I wasn’t about to give them an invitation or look welcoming or anything. Looking back on the situation I should have let out a guttural growl and told them that the seats were taken. Again the movie had already started so it was annoying to have them stand there and then even more annoying when they decided to shimmy their way into the seats squished between people who were already comfortable. Did I mention there were five empty rows? My mature voice is talking to me and it says “Michelle take a deep breath and enjoy the movie!” I try, I really try but the man is quite large and his arm keeps grazing me and I can feel myself retreating, mentally trying to make myself smaller He is a heavy breather, he sounds like he has been on a ten-mile jog. I am looking straight ahead and doing my best to focus on what I came for, enjoying a movie with my daughters. The smell of movie nachos hits me before they hit his mouth. They are loaded with jalapenos and dripping with cheese sauce. This guy is ravenous. He begins shoving them in his mouth handful after handful, barely taking the time to chew between deposits into his hungry cave. There is cheese sauce dripping off his chin but he doesn’t wipe it. He continues to stuff the nachos into him and I am sure he is going to barf on me. His labored breathing is ten times worse now. It sounds like at fat man on a treadmill. I am doing anything I can to focus on something else. Occasionally he snorts a little, I assume to avoid choking. In my head I am picturing my mother stuffing a butterball turkey with stuffing and she fills it and fills it until the turkey explodes all over me. My head starts to tingle and I pull my hair back tightly into a finger ponytail. Sometimes adding some sort of pressure to my body can help me refocus. I am literally feeling like bugs are crawling on me but I know this will pass. That triple extra large order of nachos cannot last forever. It feels like eternities have passed since this man sat down beside me. I sympathize for anything or anyone who has ever been trapped in a cage for I imagine that this is how they must feel, or dogs on leashes unable to run free. Now I am imagining myself in a wide open field with nothing but green grass below my feet and blue sky above my head. I am barefoot and running with my arms above me basking in the open air. The man puts his Nacho container on the floor. Surprisingly it is not done but he needs a drink. He takes a large swig and then burps and loudly clears phlegm from his throat. I want to be back in my wide open field but now I picture the heavy breather with nacho cheese smeared on his face chasing me through it. He takes another drink, every time he lifts his cup his arm hits mine. He burps again and this time the smell hits me immediately. Spicy jalapeno cheese burp. I jump out of my seat like it is on fire and dive into the seat beside Morgan and her friend. Within seconds the tension subsides and I am free to enjoy the movie.