When my daughter was little, she had a friend who used to talk about “The Bubble.” “The Bubble” was this young lady’s way of referring to her circle of personal space, and it was easy to hear the capitalization of the words in the way she said it.
“Step back,” she’d say imperiously. “You are in The Bubble.”
I have no idea what ever happened that girl and her Bubble, but I’ve been tempted lately to use her phrase to describe my own personal space. You see, I have a new person in my social circle who has no concept of –or respect for — The Bubble. She reminds me of that episode of “Seinfeld” with the woman Jerry and his friends referred to as The Close Talker, only this person is worse.
So much worse, in fact, that I am contemplating the idea of giving up deodorant for a while and eating nothing but onions, garlic, and brussels sprouts in hopes of getting her to take a step or two out of The Bubble. Instead, I came up with the following checklist that I think I’m going to hand her the next time I see her.
- If I can count the number of fillings in your mouth when you speak, you are too close.
- If I smell like your perfume after a simple conversation with you, you are too close.
- If you can’t talk to me without resting your breast on my arm, you are too close.
- If, in fact, your breast is trying to leap from inside your bra to inside mine, you are much too close.
- If I know exactly what size underwear you wear because the tag is leaving a Braille imprint on my hip every time you stand next to me, you are too close.
- If every conversation with you leaves me feeling like the “little spoon,” you are too close.
- If your dangly earring gets tangled in my hair, you are way too close. Seriously. I’m practically wearing a crew cut.
Or maybe, instead of handing over the list, I should just show up inside one of those inflatable Bubble Ball suits.
“Step back,” I’ll say imperiously. “You are too close to The Bubble.”
Yeah, it was a lot cuter when a ten year-old said it.