Crazy City Stories*

Personal Space Invaders*


I adore Seinfeld.

The concepts for the show are so simplistic it’s ridiculous, but they are sometimes SO true to life that I can’t even handle it. Sometimes things happen to me and in my head I immediately imagine how it would play out in a Seinfeld episode.

Yesterday I had one such occurrence.

For a while now I’ve been searching online for a second-hand play pen. I had a very specific style in mind, and I was hoping to get a good deal as they retail from $175 – 200 new in stores. On Saturday I spotted the exact playpen I had been searching for, so I immediately contacted the owner. She sold it to me for $35, which was an unbelievable steal.

We made arrangements for me to come and pick it up yesterday afternoon. Finally finding what I had been searching for for such a bargain left me on a bit of a high, so I decided to stop off at Value Village on the way home to see if my lucky streak would continue.

I didn’t find anything for me, but it was certainly Ruby’s lucky day. I found some ridiculously cute jeans, winter boots, running shoes and a cool new toy for under $10. Win? I think yes.

My luck ran out when I headed for the checkout–there was already a line-up and only two cashiers were open. I picked a lane and settled in to wait.

I casually glanced around the store, but as I slowly made my way closer to the front I started experiencing the strangest sensation.

It felt like someone was breathing in my ear.

I tried to do a subtle over-the-shoulder look on one side and didn’t see anything, so I moved to casually glance on the other side…

…and almost bumped noses with the woman standing behind me.


You would think that standing that close to someone would be deliberate, right? You’d expect to find them creepily staring at you, rubbing their palms together.

This woman seemed completely oblivious that I was even there. I turned more fully to try and get her attention to indicate that she was a little too close for comfort, but was busy looking everywhere but me.

That’s when I knew: she was a personal space invader.

After a minute of standing so close I was beginning to feel uncomfortable, so I took a step forward. Maybe she had moved to let someone in behind her, hence her proximity to me. So, my moving forward should solve the problem, right?


As I took a step forward, she moved with me. It was almost like we were spooning. Unintentionally. Standing up. In a check-out line.


I tried leaning forward onto my stroller, but I sensed that she was moving even closer so I immediately stood back up. So, instead of turning and asking her to remove herself from my personal bubble, I did the next most rational thing…

Picture this, if you will: I rolled my stroller forward a little bit with one leg, but kept one foot back. I then started leaning forward on the handles, but as she leaned with me I jutted my elbow way out.

It was quite a lovely chicken wing move.

My foot and elbow prevented her from getting too close, and gave me a much needed respite from this personal space invader. Luckily I was soon called to the front and was able to make my purchases and leave.

It was such an awkwardly funny situation that I couldn’t help but channel a little Elaine Benes as I tried to find a way to be comfortable with the personal space invader (literally) breathing down my neck.

Oh, the things I’ll endure for tiny cute shoes.

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