Despite spilling my insides all over the internet through this blog, I actually value both my privacy and my personal physical space highly. When I write I choose just what, when, and how much to share. Although I don't sugar-coat things here, I can leave out names and places to protect myself, the innocent, and the guilty. Unfortunately, when confronted in person or by telephone, it is difficult to escape when others are on a mission to interrogate or lecture. I remember a guy cornering me at a bar and opening his interrogation with inquiring what I do for a living, where I grew up, and how many siblings I have. Wow. Things of no importance and that will not tell you one iota about me. This is why I consider dating to be a form of torture worse than waterboarding. A date is a surefire way to ruin a good meal. So, without further adieu, below are a few of my pet peeves about invasions of my personal life and personal space.
I don't write much, (actually not at all before this post), about work. Work is just not something I think of as particularly important. Work is not an end in itself. It is a necessary task to generate money to pay bills. A few lucky people get paid to do something they love. Most people work to make money, and their personal time and hobbies provide relaxation, fulfillment, and the like. What one does for a living is not who that person is and does not define their intelligence, talents, interests, or abilities. I don't care how other people pay their bills and I detest when people interrogate me about how I pay mine. For the most part no one really cares what anyone else does for a living. What people actually want to know is whether you are of the right social status, too rich or too poor for them, possibly how old you are. I guess I should resolve to just ask people why they want to know how I make money. If it's just to make polite conversation, then how about talking about the weather or sports? If it's to glean some other information, then how about just asking for it directly? Oh, right, because that would be rude.
Worse yet is the unsolicited career advice. Why so many people feel the need to encourage (often nag) me to spend my days locked away in an office doing something I hate, I really don't know. I think people go down the path society tells them to go down and when anyone else veers off, charts their own course, it frustrates the ones who have convinced themselves that working for the man is some wonderful thing in itself. There are so many actually interesting things to talk about, but people are so wrapped up in work and money and telling others they need to focus on work and money, that people don't know how to have a conversation about anything else. If someone is happy about their work/job/career they will probably chatter on about it without solicitation. If you're prying it out of me then you're reminding me of my least favorite things when I am trying to enjoy myself, socialize, and relax. Yeah, thanks for that.
Another longtime pet peeve... never, ever, ever touch someone's tattoos without an explicit invitation. It is shocking the number of people who do this. Complete strangers come up and touch my tattoos, sometimes moving my shirt out of the way so they have a better view. Jesus. I think at least in a museum people know they can't walk up and "pet" the Mona Lisa. Some creeper at the pub tried to strike up a conversation with "I really like tattoos," which is bad code for "I think girls with tattoos are sluts." The tat is extremely faded and obviously in the process of removal, but he asks if it has any special meaning. (Can you feel my eyes rolling?) The only spot where I can squeeze into the bar to get a pint and I have to be next to some old creeper. Now I'm not going to fault anyone for looking at my tattoos, I put them there and I no longer suffer through trying to keep them constantly covered as I did when I lived in Miami. While it is rude to stare, at least stick with "look, don't touch." Would you walk up to someone with a bizarre birthmark or a prosthetic limb and touch it out of curiosity? I hear pregnant women encounter this same phenomenon with random strangers rubbing their bellies without permission. Where do these people come from? Until invited, a "keep your hands to yourself" policy was something I thought was assumed in polite society. Apparently not.
Well, I could go on and on. But the bitch fest of venting is done for now; time to get out for a run. I think I just have to stop being "polite" and say what I really think right when I encounter these situations. People will probably think I'm a bitch, and maybe that's just fine.