Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Regarding close-talkers

Hello, random!

I read the other day that Tennessee has decided to try to ban smoking in most indoor establishments, including bars. While I'm grateful for this (I don't like the smell of smoke while I'm eating, and I hate being made to put up with it because a stranger ten feet away feels like smoking, and what right do I have to be bothered by it), it still reminds me of Eddie Izzard saying something like "California has outlawed smoking in bars. What's next, no drinking and no talking either?" That cracks me up every time I think of it.

"There is a talking ban in place because of all the loud talkers / close talkers / spitting talkers who are abusing the privilege of using air, and THEY MUST BE STOPPED."

I don't mind loud talkers - they are at least funny to listen to. But the close talkers? I guess I have more personal space requirements than most people. Many social customs about being a (willingly!) transplanted midwestern gal in the South have baffled me over the years, but the one I cannot, no matter how hard I try, ever get used to is the reduction in personal space. Every single time someone I don't know stands too close to me I am powerless to do anything but think PERSONAL SPACE INVADER, I'm distracted from what the person is saying, and I can't function until they get out of my little 2-foot-by-2-foot box. Pardon my Yankeeness but I do not want to be able to feel anyone's breath on my face while they are talking. Most of the time down here the men are worse than the women about it, and I'm not talking about single guys who are interested (at least then I'd be flattered). I'm talking about...the service rep at the car dealership I go to for oil changes (but thank you, Nissan, for a lifetime of free oil changes!). The grubby, trés charmant fellow at the car wash with 75% of his teeth who trapped me into a conversation by sitting too close and telling me (several times) he hadn't seen anyone knit since his grandmother. Perfect, total strangers I am not likely to ever get closer to than I am at that very moment. It's such an unnerving little weird thing, like when I wear my shoes in the apartment and all the doorknobs are the wrong height.

I am writing all this because the sleeves are boring even to me, and I can't imagine you'd be interested in my mere ten inches of progress, and I spent yesterday at a fantastic photo shoot and then yesterday night getting a massage, and by the time I stopped to pick up some dinner and take a walk and eat the light was gone and there was no time for pictures. I am happy that it's still light at 8:30 at night, though. (But where I am from, it's still broad daylight at 9:30pm this time of year and every year I miss it.) I didn't see any of the usual suspects while out on my walk, because I got outside later than normal, but it was nice to not have the stifling southern late afternoon heat to keep me company.

I had a bad headache this morning and was more temperate with my Advil intake and I'm starting to feel better. If you're one of the new (or old!) folks on Ravelry, please add me as your friend! I'm Mean Girl. Just for fun!

Happy Tuesday! May your day be filled with people who maintain appropriate physical distance.


Blogger Batty said...

We have the no smoking reg in Mass, and I have to tell you, going back to Germany for a visit was hard. Cigarette smoke makes me nauseous in a bad way, and after getting used to being able to just walk into a bar or restaurant without gagging, going back was a rude shock. But I do appreciate the personal/business owner freedom-related issues inherent in the topic. Things are never easy.

It's also interesting you should mention personal space. I grew up in Germany, but my family is from southern Europe, and the touchy-feely lack of personal space drives me nuts when I visit. Cultural differences sometimes suck!

11:07 AM  
Blogger Jocelyn said...

I love the infringement on civil liberties here in CA when it means I don't have to deal with other people's smoking! If you like Eddie Izzard, have you been watching The Riches on FX? It ended last night, but it is a fantastic show. Definitely catch it when it comes out on DVD. I added you as my (first) friend on Ravelry. I haven't dipped my toes in too deeply yet. I'm afraid I will never get any knitting done :-)

11:12 AM  
Anonymous mel said...

Yes, come out to CA, we've got tons of personal space (I too am creeped out when I visit places that don't) and you actually kind of have to work hard to come across someone smoking. Heck, the city I lived in not too long ago is looking into banning it city-wide (meaning you can only smoke on your own property).

11:50 AM  
Blogger ellipsisknits said...

The biggest effect of the smoking ban here (Ohio) is that *every* restaurant has a 'patio' now. Little fenced off places generally in the middle of the parking lot or sidewalk. Strangely enough, you don't see people smoking on them all that often either.
Also, there's apparently concern about people going outside to smoke and dropping buts in the mulch and starting fires. Never seen that myself.

I'm of two minds about the smoking issue too - I have to admit the tangible effects are pleasant, but I certainly don't think it's something there should be laws about.


12:57 PM  
Anonymous xtina said...

okay, you're my friend now. I promise, no close talking....

1:40 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

I grew up in the country. If you're on the same rug as me, you're in my personal space.

Yesterday, one of the guys at work has patted me on the back a few times. This is in no way a sexual harrassment thing, he was thanking me for doing some work for him. But it made me supremely uncomfortable. Partly because it frames me as inferior ('good girl!') but mostly it's just a personal space thing.

Wehn this guy put his hand on my shoulder, I could feel my eyes doing that shifty, uncomfortable, I-don't-know-where-to-look thing. And although I tried not to, I just couldn't not!

My family and I only hug when greeting or saying goodbye or if someone is crying, etc. Not that we're against touching, you understand. It's just that it's only for when it's needed. Only poeple you're close to get to do it, and even then, it's not for a prolonged period of time.

Lots of people think that makes me weird. But I'm with you. I do not need to be able to see every pore on someone's face to hear what they are saying.

8:25 PM  
Blogger gray la gran said...

the funny thing is, the ONE person that invades my personal space and is an EXTRA-loud talker, is the ONLY person i know that quotes eddie izzard (thank GOD she doesn't smoke too!). OMG! can i ship her to you?!

8:02 PM  

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