Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Ssstand Back-- I'll Strike

Personal Space. It's something so valuable, yet in my opinion, so rarely respected. People violate my personal space ALL the time, and it has been a constant source of irritation for me. I'd like to create a warning system for personal space violators, such as the method of hissing that has so elegantly been evolved by our friend the snake.

I have formulated my own Laws of Personal Space. They're exactly like Kepler's Laws of Planetary Motion, except angrier. They are as follows:

Law 1. In an area where there exist multiple spaces in which persons are present, one entering such an area must choose to exist in the space which is furthest from any other person, or at least a reasonable distance away. Exceptions include extreme disparity in space quality, such as a dirty table.

So hello, freak in the bathroom who wants to pee right next to me for some reason-- when I'm in the end stall and all of the other ones are clean-- go to the fucking other side of the bathroom. This situation is even more enjoyable when said person talks on a cell phone while doing whatever it is she's doing. Please, I do NOT want strangers on the other end listening to my digestive and endocrine systems' functions. Bathroom doors close for a reason: it's called privacy. Do you really think your friend wants to listen to flushing toilets while you blab on about your weekend? Not that there's a difference in sound to me.

And to the guy who sits at my table in the coffee shop when I'm clearly doing work and there are at least 2 other tables available-- get out of here, asshole. No, you cannot sit next to me, although the bullshit laws of society say that I'm a bitch if I tell you that no, you cannot in fact sit next to me, because I am trying to work, and your presence-- especially when you are slurping your coffee and rustling your stupid free newspaper-- is highly distracting and makes me want to stab you to death with my mechanical pencil.

Law1, Article A. If you are talking loudly on a cell phone while the background noise is otherwise ambient-- AND at such time you are in direct violation of Law 1-- the degree to which you are an asshole is proportional to your proximity to me raised to the 3rd power.

Ass=Id^3, where I is the Irritation Constant, expressed in units of [assholes m^-3], and d is the distance from me in meters.

This means you, girl who sat at an adjacent table to me when there was literally no one else at any other table and proceeded to discuss your lame ass weekend with whichever flaky girlfriend of yours was vapid enough to pick up the phone. Why couldn't you be considerate and sit at another table 20 meters away from me? You saw I was absorbed in work and even if I wasn't-- why would you assume that anyone wouldn't mind listening to your verbal garbage sputtered with omg!s and like,s (yes, the comma is supposed to be there)? You're like, totally lame.

This also means you, guy who came into our tiny apartment complex workspace room when I was the only one in there doing work, and proceeded to use the room for your business calls. You live in fucking LA, which means there is a plethora of quiet spaces outside in the beautiful weather where you can sit talking on the phone for literally hours and not be a bother to anybody. Why did you choose to sit in the small room next to the girl with piles of papers, a calculator and computer splayed out on the table? Why did you do it? Oh, and then you propped open the door to the lobby, where a receptionist was talking loudly on the phone, music was playing, and kids were yelling. When I closed the door 10 minutes later, you opened it again. That wasn't at all inconsiderate.

Law 2. If you observe someone doing work, absorbed in conversation (cell phone or otherwise), or involved in any other activity which would be impertinent to interrupt, do not bother that person, especially not to ask inane questions.

So that means you, large and flaky woman who interrupted my cell phone conversation the other week to ask me directions in an area I was not even remotely familiar with-- go eat a baby or something. Don't flag me down and block my path on the sidewalk so you can ask me a question you could have asked 1031413813 other people who were NOT engaged in conversations or who perhaps were working at the convenience store right on the corner. I hate you so much and I hope you never made it to whichever ice cream store you were seeking. (Harsh, I know. But I was involved in a serious conversation and she very rudely interrupted me.)

Law 2, Article 1: If you see someone wearing headphones, do not try to communicate with that person, and more importantly, do not assume said person can hear you. Allowable exceptions to the ban on communication include the case of fires, earthquakes, threatening criminal activity, and snakes on a plane.

So random guy trying to hit on me on the train. No-- I cannot fucking hear you. If I had an interest in talking to you, perhaps I would, I don't know, take off my headphones? I certainly wouldn't keep my head down and my nose in a book. Yes, maybe you got my attention because you waved your stupid hand in front of my face, forcing me to take off the headphones and mumble that yes, my book is good-- but then I put them right back on and proceeded to ignore you. Get a clue. And middle-aged woman asking what stop this is (or whatever it is you're trying to mouth)-- I can't hear you, and there are plenty of people who can whom you can ask. I have the right to ignore anyone I choose, and I choose to ignore you for so many reasons.

Law 3: The asshole relation for one handing out flyers on the street or local campus cobblestone walk can be expressed by the following simple exponential relation:

Ass = I(l) d^4, where I is the Irritation Constant as a function of the location and frequency of which I have to walk by, and d is once again distance in meters.

This same law applies to any sort of solicitor, such as telemarketers (I=1024), promoters, and retail sales people who refuse to accept that you're "just browsing".

UC Berkeley overly zealous activists, I'm looking at you in particular. Especially the girl who literally followed me halfway down an entire block to hand me a flyer because I pulled a Peter Gibbons on her (she was in my path and I simply ignored her and walked around)-- while wearing my headphones, I might add. I found her in direct violation of Law 2 Article 1 AND Law 3. I didn't take her flyer, and I have absolutely no idea what she was promoting, because the music was blasting. Score. I'd like to thank New York City for helping me develop such an astounding capacity to ignore those around me.

So yeah, I really like my personal space and being left alone. It's funny, because I'm not at all the type of person who will freak out if someone touches me or who won't let others in because I'm such a recluse-- but I like being left alone by those who really just don't matter. I realize there are various social "duties" to be nice and converse with strangers, but those really aren't for me, and frankly, I think they are bullshit-- unless one actually gains joy from such things. I understand there are people who do, so good for them. Have your conversations with the Greenpeace folks and let weird squirrelly guy sit next to you at Starbuck's. Fine. But that's not me. I can't be bothered, and I think the people who think I should have to be bothered are rude. I suppose they have the Constitutional right to bother whomever they wish, but I have that same right to ignore them. Yet somehow, I'm the asshole.

As I am writing these sentences, a girl just sat at the table next to me, 4 feet away and initiated a cell phone conversation in gibberish (really, I have not a clue as to what language she is speaking in-- only that it is at an amazingly high decibel level). Guess how many other equally good tables are empty.