The Parking Space

Posted in Social Phobia, Uncategorized with tags , , on October 4, 2010 by Sociophobe

 

                   Sometime ago, Meryl, a co-worker, told me about an incident in the parking lot of a shopping mall in the Atlanta, GA.  There were no close parking spaces available and when she finally found one it was viciously stolen by a woman driving in the opposite direction.  Meryl honked her horn to make the other driver aware of the atrocity committed.  The lady proceeded to turn around extending her left arm and presenting the star of the show, the middle finger.  Meryl eventually found a parking spot.  Unfortunately, all maturity went out the window and lack of self-control possessed her.  She walked to the lady’s card and carved the word bitch on the driver’s side door with her key.

                  More recently, my husband and I visited some friends in St. Simmons Island, GA.  As always we headed to the beach immediately after we arrived in order to make the most of our visit to this mini paradise.  We parked and while my friend was gathering our beach items, I witness what I thought was going to be a beach brawl.  A lady had been behind us waiting for the parking next to ours. Once that driver left, another woman came out of nowhere and stole the parking.  The lady honked the horn.  Remembering my co-worker’s series of unfortunate events, I was getting prepared to duck. Instead of flipping the bird, the lady waived an apologetic gesture and pulled out of the parking space.  The person waiting rolled her window down and said thank you. No blood pressure elevators, no major comprehensive vehicular repairs to ruin someone’s day. The sun continued to shine.   

What could be the factor for these different scenarios? Is it a conflict between the city’s frenzy and the beach’s R&R?

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The Incident

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on September 28, 2010 by Sociophobe

The Incident

       One of my few good friends, J.S, called me the other day to catch up.  We live in different countries and because of our hectic lives are rarely able to communicate other than the occasional text or chain email.  After the customary greetings and questions about any new happenings, the conversation shifted to our favorite subject.  We call this, an encounter of the third kind with a human.  My friend, a tad “agoranoid” like myself, was in the food court at the mall attempting to enjoy a meal.  It was a Wednesday morning, so there were no lines and ninety percent of the tables were available.  We loners enjoy eating alone, and seek to do this whenever possible.  So it was not surprising when my friend told me, that he chose a remote small table to eat.  

        A female sat at the table.  Naturally, my friend looked at her astonished.  He wondered why on Earth she did not pick one of the hundreds on empty chairs.  The lady smiled and said: “I’m sorry!  I have to sit here.  I don’t like dinning alone.  It looks weird.”  My friend smiled back, trying to not be rude, but knowing him for over a decade, I’m willing to bet that smile looked sarcastic.  They did not say anything through the remainder of the meal. 

       My friend described the incident as “ ‘Awkwardfest’ at the Mall.”  Should we agoranoids and not agoranoids express our feelings? Is people-pleasing detrimental for our self-esteem? What would you do if you wanted to dine alone and this occurred to you? Would you leave? Would you ask the person to leave?

In the Waiting Room

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on September 28, 2010 by Sociophobe

          The anxiety level was simmering inside of me, while waiting for my name to be called at the doctor’s office.  When I arrived, as always, I tried to avoid eye contact, and I sat as far away as possible from everyone.  I exchanged half a smile with a lady and proceeded to pull my book out of my purse to calm my agoraphobia. 

          There was a heated discussion about the perils of having teenagers.  A robust man, was at TMI (too much information) mode, and started disclosing intimate details concerning the sexual escapades of his fifteen year old son.  One parent described how not even military school was able to help her teen, while another reminisced about her seventeen hour delivery and the fragile state of her financial affairs.  Having encountered this behavior before, I came to the conclusion that psychotherapy is very expensive, therefore some people practice it with complete strangers for free.  I have learned from my agoraphobia to block strangers, by concentrating in reading or using my headphones, which unfortunately I left on the kitchen counter that day. 

       TMI does not affect me as much as I’m getting older.  However, later on came the “agoranoid” portion of the story.  After a short time everyone was gone until only the robust fellow and I were left in the room.  I immediately noticed that he grabbed a magazine and started talking to himself about random current events.  (“Man, when is this economy going to turn around? I can’t believe Michael Douglas has cancer.  Lohan in jail again?”) I also noticed that every time he made a comment he looked at me, attempting to cause a reaction in order to start a conversation.  This is the kind of thing that an “agoranoid” like myself can sense with peripheral vision.  I lifted the book further to my face in order to signal a polite: “please don’t talk to me, not because there’s something wrong with you, but because there is something wrong with the way that strangers make me feel.”  A few minutes later I started questioning if maybe, just this once, my anxiety and discomfort was not cause by paranoia.  I thought to myself: “There’s really something wrong about this guy’s perception of boundaries.” 

       A woman came in signed her name and sat directly across from the chatty guy. The receptionist called her name aloud.  The guy took that as an invitation and the following dialog proceeded: “Are you famous, or something, ‘cause I’ve heard that name before, I just can’t place it.” “No.” “Really, it’s killing me. Where did I hear that? What is your father’s name?” To my surprise she proceeded to tell him her father’s name and as an added bonus his occupation as a musician.  It was like feeding a stray dog. Once you throw the dog a bone, the dog will return again and again.  He dropped the ancestry interrogation and then asked her if she was pregnant.  The lady responded: “No.” He replied:  “So, what are you doing here? This is an OBGYN office, is it not?  Again to my surprise, she answered him amicably: “I’m here for my regular checkup.” “Oh, I forgot you guys have to do that. I’m here waiting for my wife; she is having our sixth child. Do you live around here?” I remember thinking to myself: “Isn’t this how serial killers pickup their victims?” Thankfully, the nurse called my name to go in to see the doctor; I jumped out of the seat like a Price is Right contestant jumps when their name is called.