Thursday, September 24, 2015

Don't Touch People

It's a bad habit.  Certain little moments make me cringe like a spider on the stove.

I touch people.

I'm not a disgusting perv or a smothering mommy-type.  I just tend to touch my fingertips on a sleeve or an arm. It startles some people.  It puts others off as if I've farted on them.  It's a violation of many people's boundaries.

I used to be much more allergic to touch.  My parents were pretty mainstream Yanks, and Yanks will actively avoid touching people as if a casual touch could lead to a big blazing red letter A stitched into their epidermis.  I had the same hesitations before I left Rangeley, Maine.

Then I met lots of other people in a big, wide world.  The first time I got hugged by a friend was a revelation.  I've hugged many, many people and there's a pretty open social contract for that now.  But the casual tap of fingertips on wrist is not in the contract.  More people than not will recoil, or stop themselves from recoiling, which makes me wince at 4:00 in the morning.  Well, it's ONE of the things that makes me wince at 4:00 in the morning.

How do I cure myself of this?

I'll picture that poor little lost spider on the stove-lost in a hostile territory.  Human beings feel that way a great deal of the time, since we are a species that often turns on our own.  Some people are not safe company for other people.  We all have to have boundaries.  And I've got to draw the line.

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