Excuse me? Hi. Could you just back off?

I don’t understand people, I really don’t. Hello, readers, yes, this is the start of another rant. I can’t help it. There are some things that are just so plain annoying I have to bring them to your attention for two reasons: (1) to annoy you, and (2) to educate you.

Yes, that sounded pompous. Yes, I’m going to leave it just the way it is.

Let’s imagine for one minute you’re in the doctor’s office and you’re in the queue to check-in. Are you one of the people who stands inches away from the person in front of you? If you are, go stand in the corner right now. Seriously. Right this second. And don’t come out until I tell you that you can.

Why, oh, why do people stand so close to others in situations like that? Hello? Yes, it’s the doctor’s office, for crying out loud! The person in front of you is there for a reason. Did you really want to catch what they have? Alternatively, if you’re the one standing so close behind me that I can feel your breath on my neck, back off! What the hell’s the matter with you? Like I said, go stand in the corner. Just go. You’ve pissed me off.

The line has moved, you’re up at the counter now, the person helping you is presumably employed because they have some sort of people skills and tact in these situations. Therefore, announcing why you’re there to everyone queued up or lounging around reading crusty old periodicals, is just plain inconsiderate and, frankly, stupid. If you’re one of those people who feels the need to announce why the patients are there, you go stand in the corner, too. You should be fired. I don’t need to hear that the dude in front of me has come in for polyps in his colon, thanks. Just shut up! Also? Don’t announce to the general public that the woman behind me needs to leave you with a urine sample. Seriously. Too much information.

There’s a lack of boundaries in these situations and it’s deplorable. I’m a great fan of personal space and of private information being kept private. It’s one of the reasons I’ve recently unfollowed some people on Twitter. Look, I don’t care to read about your showers or the sex you’ve just had. Get a grip on social decorum. It’s not dead. Really. Go sit in the corner until you can learn some manners.

Now, personal space and private information invasions aren’t just reserved for doctor’s offices, although lately I’ve experienced it in these places more and more. No, I’m sad to say I’ve also encountered these violations while waiting in line to pick up prescriptions at the pharmacy. It makes me want to scream. At our old pharmacy there used to be a sort of barricaded area where you stood until it was your turn. In this barricaded area, there was a stop sign. You were not to go past the stop sign unless there was a pharmacy clerk available to help you. I even think there were cut-out footprints on the floor with another stop sign printed on them. This barricaded area was many feet away from the individuals up at the counter speaking to the pharmacy staff. The reason for this was simple – you don’t need to know what they’re picking up and how it will help what they’re suffering from. The reason? It’s none of your damned business. If you want to know why the stooped little old man at the counter is here, you’re a nosy busybody and should go stand in the corner, too. Go.

Sadly that pharmacy with the stop sign was taken over by a new one. They’ve redone the whole store. Now when you wait in line to pick up your prescription, you have people standing immediately behind you as if they’re trying to conserve warmth. This is San Diego, dude, back off. It’s not 50 below outside. What the hell?

What I’ve found is people need the stop sign. People need rules. They need to be told, “STOP! WAIT HERE! DON’T GO FORWARD OR YOU RISK BEING AN ASSHOLE!” The world is, sadly, littered with clueless assholes.

Clearly the people who redesigned the pharmacy thought the stop sign and footprints were patronizing and they decided they’d make it a more open environment. Well, it’s more open all right. Unfortunately, the privacy dividers between each register at the pharmacy counter have also been taken away. Perhaps in a bid to make it seem more friendly, who knows? Now while you’re waiting to be rung up for your prescription, you get to hear all the side effects everyone around you will soon be suffering. Because of this I now know the prescriptions that Bentley, Porsche, Mercedes S Class, Honda Pilot, and Toyota Highlander are on. We all walked in together, we all lurked together, we all left together. I know that some of them can’t take any alcohol while on their prescriptions – that includes Listerine – and they now know I’m allergic to Penicillin. Where are the boundaries, people? For God’s sake!

I know you’ll think about this the next time you’ve got to take your kid to the pediatrician and the woman behind you with her nineteen coughing, snotting, wheezing children stand so close to your kid that he’ll develop new symptoms before you’ve even left the lobby. And, if you’re the mom with the nineteen snotting kids? You’re not cool!

Now, for those of you who have been stuffed in the corner for this post – you may come out now, go back up to the first paragraph, and read and re-read this post from the beginning. Do not click out of this window until you’ve realized what it is you did wrong and you can promise me and all the other defenders of personal space that you won’t do it again. There’s a line between you and me, let’s keep it that way.


12 responses to “Excuse me? Hi. Could you just back off?”

  1. I’m big on the personal space thing. The ONLY people allowed to crowd me is my immediate family, if I want them to. BTW, thanks for not unfollowing me on twitter, my fragile self-esteem. AND get out of those Drs. offices they’ll make you ill.


  2. clap clap clap. I would bow, but I’m afraid I’ll fall on my face and then someone would come pick me up and that would invade my personal space.


  3. I couldn’t have said it better myself. This should be required reading for all doctors, pharmacists, patients and customers.


  4. Related to not understanding the concept of personal space, some people have no inner monologue. My mother suffers from this particular syndrome. It’s like she always wants me to know what she’s thinking. On a visit home last weekend, I finally said to her, “It’s so nice of you to narrate what you’re doing at all times.” That was my way of letting her know that I appreciate silence and that her inability to be silent was getting on my last nerve.


  5. I remember when I was pregnant and hadn’t told my boss b/c I knew he would be unhaPpy! The pharmacist announced it to the whole store that he was out of my prenatal vitamins! I did not even make it back from lunch before my cell rang and my boss wanted to know if the rumor was true! AAARG! Privacy is a thing of the past!


  6. I don’t know how I missed this one but I’m glad I found it. You hit many, many nails right on their damn heads. Hilarious, true. Privacy, yeah right. Loved reading this.


  7. If at all possible I use drive-thru anywhere and everywhere and if I can send somebody great.

    I especially love to shop when stores just opened or are about to close. I get all the space I need! 🙂


  8. I stupidly… um, I mean conscientiously made it to my morning and afternoon doctor appointments last week half an hour or more early. Both times there were plenty of empty seats, but people coughing and sneezing sat down in the chairs right next to mine. In less than 48 hours I had their colds.

    I also hate when someone is inches away as I’m trying to discreetly enter my pin number at a register or atm. I’ve thought of putting shoulder straps on a hoola hoop so that people can’t get too close.

    You must have an awfully big corner here to have fit all of those people into. Bet they had to stand REAL close to each other. 😉


  9. Yay! I finally got caught up on your posts! You’re brilliant, Denise! Love you, sweetheart. *Big Squishy Hugs*


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