Don’t Stand So Close to Me

As we re-enter society, since it appears we are moving to thinking we are post Covid, there are some things to decide upon. Things like masks, eating out, shaking hands, hugs, or even standing close to a stranger.

For me, I’m getting okay with eating out. It has been nice to actually go, sit at a restaurant to have my order taken, and have the food brought out to be eaten hot. Take out has been our mainstay, but it rarely arrives home hot.

I have shaken some hands. However, I am very conscious about not using that hand for food or touching my face, or touching almost anything I’ll be using. As soon as I can, I wash my hands or put on some hand sanitizer.

Hugs are another habit I’m getting back into again. I have missed hugging friends when we get together. With graduation season still going on, we’ve been able to see the gang quite a bit the last couple of weeks. Meaning, lots of hugs.

Masks are still part of my routine. It goes on when I go into a crowded store. Sometimes when going into a restaurant. And, when walking through the tunnels to get to my work space. I’m not fully sure if I’ll stop using them completely anytime soon.

But, and this is a big but, I’m not ready for a complete stranger to be in my personal six foot bubble. I know this because someone tried it while I was at the Farmer’s Market today.

While at one of the stands, I was looking at some vegetables waiting on the person ahead of me to finish her purchase. When it was my turn, I was telling the man behind the table what I wanted. As I was talking to him, a woman came right up beside me to interject herself into the conversation.

Mind you, during normal times I don’t care for people to be too close to me. Pre-Covid, she still would have been too close. I gave her a bit of a look to say stand back a bit. She didn’t get the social cue. So, I stepped a bit to the side. What does she do, moves into my space again. This time I took a more overt step to the side, hoping she’d get the hint. But she didn’t and started to move closer again. I will freely admit she was making me a bit anxious even though we were outside with a bit of a breeze blowing. It was so uncomfortable because one doesn’t know who is, or isn’t vaccinated. I was almost ready to just walk away.

Thankfully, the farmer had finished my transaction. I quickly gathering my veggies and went on my way.

I did keep wondering though, has this person not been paying attention? Was she vaccinated and thought nothing of invading someone’s space because of that knowledge? Was this how she has always been, ignoring social cues or norms, just doing her thing without thinking how others might feel about her being so close? I’ll never know.

What I do know is, if you don’t know me, vaccinated or not, no one needs to get that close to me without being asked. I’m not ready for a crowd yet. Actually, I never really cared for larger crowds. Even less so now.

So please, as The Police sang, “don’t stand, don’t stand so, don’t stand so close to me.”

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