Sunday, September 28, 2008

Dude, do you not realize you're all up in ma face??? Get back in line.

I've been thinking lately.

Neil's recent post plus all of the constant touching, bumping, and close-talking of the Spanish populace as a whole have me thinking about personal space issues in foreign contexts. And here are my thoughts:

Get. The. Fuck. Off. Of. Me.

There are some people that can get away with unreasonable proximity due to their obvious standards of beauty as defined by me and standards of hygiene as defined by 21st century Western culture (the vast majority anyway). In all honesty, there are certain people I don't mind rubbing against me on the bus, ok?

But, as a general rule, most humans fall into the category of People I'd Rather Not Have Skin-On-Skin Contact With At The Fucking Panaderia.

Maybe this isn't a cultural thing. Maybe it has to do with different types of urban cities. Maybe if I had spent my youth hopping in and out of subway cars in New York City, or avoiding accidents in the 'bicycle kingdom' in a bustling Chinese metropolis, maybe I'd feel differently. Maybe it's the fact that I grew up in a place where there is always a parking space available and if the Quiznos you just walked into is too crowded, there's another one just down the road to get your lunch from.

Whatever it is, I find myself screaming internally, "MOVE IT DUDE" on way too many occasions.

This feeling is intensified when waiting in line for anything when you realize that if lines were formed with seats all in a column, most people joining the line would just come sit on your lap.

Just for the record, I am a fervent supporter of the social norm of queue-forming with every ounce my being and believe it to be an essential component of harmonious social interaction and/or me not losin' my shit while I'm buying bread.

Unfortunately though, queue-forming is a fuzzy phenomenon in Spain, and, well, let's just say they cross the line in this regard. Constantly.

Disrespecting the queue-forming social norm + some idiot breathing down my neck and bumping shoulders with me when it is clearly not necessary = me wanting to give Spain the most gigantic kick in the cojones I've ever given it.

And this makes me realize that there are certain things I'll never get used to here. I'm not one of those foreigners that likes to point out to Spanish people how everything in my country is better, or wave my flag around, for obvious reasons.

But I feel like the older I get, the more stubborn I'm becoming with the line-cutting, close-talking violators of personal space and sometimes I just want to say:

We do it better over there. Now GET OFF ME and mind the queue.



kate said...

Yes, this is annoying. Though 'round these parts people are pretty good about respecting queues-- or at least whose turn it is, by the whole "¿Quien es el último? /¿Quién da la vez?" thing. Often it doesn't look like there is a real line but people know exactly when their turn is and usually respect it. Maybe it's just those Sevillians who need to learn some manners!

kate said...

Sorry to double-comment you, but after reading the post you linked to it reminded me about how at first, when I would go back to the States on vacation after living here for awhile, it would always seem really strange to me that people would say "excuse me" when they come with in fifty feet of you, or walk somewhere in your general vicinity in one of the enormous store aisles. Here I'm used to inching my shopping cart along in Carrefour with a thousand other shoppers (no exaggeration) on a Saturday afternoon, with nary a "con permiso" as they shove you out of the way (okay, so they don't usually shove, but as you say, bodily contact while shopping is pretty typical.)

Captain Steve said...

Dude, I am totally there. I HATE it when people touch me and I haven't given permission! The inward screaming when the contact continues is annoying because you can't actually ask them not to touch you, because that's considered rude. Ugh. Respect ma bubble!

Brook said...

hahaha I totally know what you are talking about.!!! Mostly its middle eastern people where I live... they don't know what a LINE IS!! then cut and pretend they have no clue what anyone is saying. Also when I went to go see my bf's family they kiss ALL THE TIME... both cheeks before and after leaving... its nice... but is was ssoo annoying because there are 50 of them and ... hello... face oil makes zits!

A Free Man said...

I grew up in a pretty sparsely populated part of the States as well and found Europe slightly, um, close when I first lived there. Slowly kind of got used to it, though. Of course in Britain you've got people who have bigger personal space issues than I did and have an absolute obsession with queues. I actually think the English enjoy queuing more than whatever they're queuing for.

karey m. said...


i sometimes think that a civilization is {rightly so!} judged on how they line up and how they drive.

manner, people. manners.

friends of mine traveled to india. when they were picked up at the train, their escort whipped out a stick to honest-to-god beat down all the oglers who pushed and pushed so they could see who was coming off the train.

this. is. a. normal. thing.

i mean, the dude brings his own bat. jesus.

on a side note, i've not been traveling around as much this month...haven't been here in ages, it seems, so i must go and catch up. next month will be better, now that birthdays are over! xoxo.

Bluestreak said...

Kate - ok maybe it´s an andaluz thing, but damn is it annoying. A lot of times people ask "quien va ultimo" but only after there are loads of people. I find the most cutting taking place when there are just a couple of people in line. Also, at some places they have the take-a-number thing. But what happens when everyone cuts you in the line to take a number?

Captain Steve- like I said, there are only certain people that can get away with that shit.

Brook - yeah we do the kissy face here to. I´m okay with that because I expect it. But I just don´t like it when someone is physically on my ass when I´m in line.

Free Man - funny you say that about British people, Neil is British and the post I linked to reflects on those issues of personal space when he is home.

Karey M - yeah, you´ve had loads of B-days! Oh that is hilarious about the bat, maybe I should start bringing one with me to the baker to beat off the old ladies that try to cut me in line! The old ladies are the worst around here!

perplexus said...

How true. I have been known to push and scream or simply just walk out of bread stores huffing and puffing. It is strange because they act like they are queen but then when you say I was here first they usually back off. Once I said aloud in the supermarket line to a presumptuous woman, “oh, I am so sorry, I didn’t realise you were more important than everyone else, go ahead.” The woman just kept quiet like she didn’t hear me. Everyone was staring at her and looking at me like how dare I identify a flaw in their culture. They just accept this behaviour from one another.

I have noticed this way of life has affected me. Now when I go to the States I find myself pushier and with fewer manners than ever and by contrasting irony I get annoyed by the really over politeness. It is a no win situation for me because here I am POed by the pushers and there in the States by the over sorry excuse me folk.

Rassles said...

Yeah, but when you think about how retarded Americans are about standing in line, it's ridiculous. We'll just line up for shit regardless of what it is.

Sometimes, I see a line, and I'm all, "Well, what's this for? It's probably good, everyone else is standing here." So I start asking people what they're waiting for. What if it's something cool, like free concert tickets? And if it is, then I'll just hop in line and collect.

Sometimes people just jump in line behind me and then ten minutes later tap my shoulder looking confused going, "Hey, is this the line for untraceable shotguns?" And I have to explain no, this is where we buy blackmarket babies, shotguns are four lines down.

It's like we have this mindset like, well, if we're waiting in line it must be worth it. We're a bunch of idiots.

I'm might get a lot of "oh, speak for yourself" but I'm pretty sure if you think you're not a liner upper, you're one of the largest perpetrators. Kind of like how people who think they're low maintenance are usually the highest maintenance.

Bluestreak said...

perplexus: oh man i would have loved to see those people staring at you when you said that to that woman. They usually are cool if you call them on it, but it just makes my blood boil, and I see it makes your blood boil too. Then when I go to the states I´m probably this creepy touchy line-cutter, like you.

Rassles - that´s hilarious and true. There´s a line, let´s get in it, they must be handing out free iphones. Oh wait, this is the line to get your head checked for lice. Damn. By the way, I make no pretenses about not being high maintenence. I am one giant pain in everyone´s ass in that regard. Can any family members confirm? I think if I wasn´t high maintenence I wouldn´t have a blog. Doesn´t being high maintenence kinda go in line with self-importance? I win at that too.

Rassles said...

I am definitely high maintenance. I unintentionally demand a certain level of behavior from everyone around me. Granted, that behavior must be to "chill the fuck out because it's not a big deal" in regards to nearly everything, but I don't deal with freaker-outters, so people are extra careful not to freak out around me, which keeps them on edge. Otherwise I'll jump down their throats for freaking out.

Analyze that.

the cubicle's backporch said...

This really irks me in the grocery store. Like when I'm waiting in line and someone is pushing their cart up my ass. It's like BACK THE FUCK UP! NO ONE IS GOING TO TAKE YOUR SPOT!


Bluestreak said...

Shit Rassles, I´ll make sure never to lose ma shit around you. Although I usually lose my shit internally until my head feels like it´s gonna explode. But I should use your strategy, otherwise I´m gonna be all Michael Douglas from Falling Down soon.

Bluestreak said...

cubicle - EXACTLY, it´s the ass raming I can´t deal with.

My Way said...

I know my ass is big but I don't generally like people to rub their fat stomachs on it. Apparently in some places, this is normal. So is shoving your cart up against my ass, perhaps trying to shove it UP my ass in some instances. I am kinky but not THIS kinky.

Don't get me started on the women's washroom....that is a whole nother blog. Maybe you'd like to write that? lol.

What I did learn was that, if you turn into a rude pushy bitch, it's one way to get over the lack of a "cola". It can even kinda feel good if you've budged a whole shitload of people and rudely spoken over top of the old lady who came before you.

Heather said...

Man when I was preggers in Portugal EVERY old lady touched my belly. It was such as hassle. It took me years to get used to it.

Bluestreak said...

My Way - that is some funny shit. I think you better post on the woman´s washroom. I think I posted at some point some time back about the ladies room but it was pertaining to how fucking disgusting they are, not people gettin all up in my face. Oh man, if they tried to pull that kinda crap in the ladies room I might karate chop them.

Heather - I´ve heard that from other people. Ewwww. Don´t touch me. Did you just want to slap their hands away? Geez, how can they not know how rude that is?

Anonymous said...

oh, how i totally empathize with this particular post!! i even showed other friends living with me in spain this post of yours and everyone agreed that it hit the nail on the head! i enjoy reading your post - spain is different, as they like to say! :) kara