Friday, November 19, 2010

The Comfort Zone, Explained

I'm a Hoosier.  I grew up thinking that the rest of the world operated with an arm's length comfort zone, and only hugged very close family members, and typically we only hugged at funerals, when someone was moving away, or to perform the Heimlich Maneuver.  Even the Heimlich Maneuver required a lot of thought and imminent death before the comfort zone was breached for strangers.

Color me surprised when I went through Air Force basic training in Texas and found a whole new culture of people that hugged perfect strangers for no reason whatsoever, and thought nothing of standing mere inches away as they talked to you.  The typical response was to take a step back, but they would take a step toward you, step back, step forward.  Sometimes I would be trapped against a wall with no way to flee.  At desperate times, I'd push out my arm and physically move them away from me, which always brought on the whole discussion of "comfort zone" and how silly it was and then some kind of hugging attempt and then violence.

Seriously, I'll just flail at you if you penetrate my comfort zone boundary.  I can't help it.  Its in the DNA, hard wired, no control whatsoever, so there have been incidences.

This whole blog post is to explain my recent Facebook status of: Dear Old Lady at the Grocery store: Get the F out of my way.

I like old ladies.  I like old guys as well, especially because most old guys are WWII vets and deserve respect and an easy life... but I draw the line at old ladies who:
1.) toddle down the middle of a supermarket aisle, stop in the middle of the supermarket aisle, block the entire aisle while trying to figure out what brand of bread crumbs to pick up.
2.) wander right in front of you, stop suddenly, back up without looking, then sneer at you because you are in their way
3.) Stop in the middle of the beginning of an aisle and won't let anyone pass until they figure out if that's the aisle they need to go down, then walk slowly in front of you
and the most important one:
4.) appear suddenly behind you without any warning (or waft of too much perfume) and are so close you could share a jacket.... then follow closely behind you as if any moment she would jump on your back for a ride down the aisle.

No matter where I fled, no matter which aisle I turned down, that old lady was riding my ass every step of the way.  It was like being stalked by... an old lady.  I managed to lose her in the canned vegetable aisle and didn't see her for the rest of my visit, but I'll be damned if she didn't toddle out of the store, walk slowly behind my truck, left her cart behind my truck as she freaking parked right next to me and sloooooowly took each bag out of the cart and carried it over to her trunk.

So... I'm sure that justifies my Facebook status, and I do think that I should get some credit for not posting the follow up:

Dear Old Lady in the parking lot of the grocery store: sorry about running you over.


Ann said...

I love it! I grew up in a family that did not hug - even though I wanted to hug. (I was adopted and got the hugging gene from my birth mother - so it was very hard for me since I wanted to hug and no one else did).

I, too, have a hard time with the "old ladies" in the grocery. We have this one food store chain that is referred to as "the blue hair store" - because it's full of old ladies and old men - "a singles' bar for the elderly" ha ha ha.

One thing you forgot to mention was how they take up the entire meat section of a store - leaving their cart in one area and walking, very slowly, to and from the chicken, pork and beef sections - complaining that everything had too much fat and was too expensive.

Got to love the "blue haired" society - we will be one some day!

Huffle Mawson said...

Old ladies. Bah! The only good thing about it is one day we will be old ladies and we can torment the younger generation too.

~*~ Heather Renée ~*~ said...

It's like coasting while driving.. if she stayed behind you, she could move faster! LOL!!!