Bubble Boy

bubbleboyThe Universe has been sending me signals again. Unlike last time when the Universe instructed me to re-enact the rawhide scene from the movie “Blues Brothers” in my underwear, I think that these signals might possibly be important and help to better all our lives.

All day today the Universe has sent me everything from canoodling teenagers in the hallways of the Halfway House of Humility to teachers discussing Close Talkers. Clearly the Universe is begging me to talk about the concept of Personal Space.

Personal space is the invisible bubble we all carry around ourselves and outside which we’d all prefer to have people stay. There are exceptions to this rule, of course; close friends, spouses, pet rocks, and possibly paramedics are all permitted inside our personal space bubble on occasion. It’s also sad but true that some people seem totally unaware that other folks have personal space bubbles; 7 year olds, puppies, and of course Close Talkers.

The Close Talker has been discussed extensively in other forums and I’m sure that we don’t need to recap it here. Instead, let’s explore a new theory that was forwarded by a reader today. The idea is that in the event that the Close Talker is very much taller or shorter than the person they are addressing, they will step even closer to that person.  Presumably they feel that your personal space bubble is centered around your head and they can safely stand over or under it. Please remember that Close Talker’s already underestimate or are completely oblivious to your personal space bubble so we are potentially dealing with a conversational distance of inches here!

This is an interesting premise, but I think that I may not be terribly qualified to address it as my personal space bubble is reactive in nature. My personal space bubble seems to be regular sized when dealing with friends or colleagues, but expands to several times it’s normal diameter when facing freshmen, football coaches, raccoons, or spandex-clad road bicyclists.

bubbleheadHowever, picking back up on the idea that your personal space bubble is centered around your head, I think we have a simple experiment to perform. Stand a comfortable distance away from someone at work and have a conversation with them. After five minutes, ask them to touch your feet or ask if you can touch their feet. If one’s personal space bubble is indeed centered around one’s head, then neither of you should balk at this request as they would be moving away from your head and thus further away from your bubble. (Safety Tip: Do not attempt to touch someone’s feet without permission as this could lead to head trauma to the head.)

Unless I get an overwhelming response from SASS indicating otherwise, my hypothesis is that touching someone’s feet will probably not be ok and debunk the Close Talker’s idea that your personal space bubble is centered around your head. Perhaps “bubble” is a misnomer and we are really talking about more of a cone… think about it.


2 thoughts on “Bubble Boy

  1. stumpsmcgee

    I sat here and read your last three blogs, and I have to ask: aside from when you thought you were Superman and “flew” from a tree, just how many head traumas to da head HAVE you had???


  2. livebait1

    RW You are an egg head! Personal space is centered around your head??? Hmmm – me thinks not. Any method the toe touching occurs… (via bending over or squatting down) people are gonna be talkin’.

    I think carrying a ruler around with you to ensure that 1 ft of personal space is always maintained could potentially be a less invasive test . Also it won’t be as conspicuous for those of us who work at the education factory, where rulers are readily available (but not commonly used).

    The close talkers can by those little half-zie 6 inch rulers, which could provide a subtle warning that a close-talker is in the vicinity.


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