Sound Barrier

In a city of 14,000,000,000,000 people, it’s almost impossible to find a place where someone else will not be present. And I actually don’t mind, believe it or not. As much as people get on my nerves, piss me off, and generally disgust me, I like having them around when I leave the apartment. There’s something a little disconcerting about going outside and having the sidewalk all to myself, such as on Memorial Day weekend, when it seems like everyone else has abandoned the city.
Still, I don’t like when they stand so close to me that I can feel their breath on my neck or their hands on my ass. On the subway, of course, it’s usually unavoidable, and hey, let’s face it: sometimes it’s kinda fun to have your ass fondled by someone you don’t know and whose face you’ll never see. But in general I don’t like or appreciate being bumped, prodded, or jostled, especially when the person who feels it’s necessary to bump, prod, or jostle can easily maneuver himself out of the way to avoid it.
(An aside: You have to laugh whenever you do that little “dance” you do when someone approaches you in the opposite direction and both of you try to get around each other. If you get all mad and huffy when your progress is impeded, you come off as an extreme jackass. Just so you know.)
However, there is one variety of space invasion that I find absolutely inexcusable. One barrier I don’t like crossed, under any circumstances.
Last week I met someone uptown for lunch at Candle Cafe. My “date” was waiting for me at a small table in the back when I arrived. Two women occupied another table behind my chair, and I instantly disliked them for a host of reasons, not the least of which was that their drone was distinct above the general din and clatter.
When they got up to leave, one of them went behind my companion’s chair to retrieve her coat from a rack, and the other stayed behind me gathering her things. Rather than just wait until they closed the physical distance between them, they chose to talk directly over our heads, loudly, their strident voices almost palpable between us. It wasn’t just a word or two. No, it was an entire conversation. A continuation of the banal drivel that I’d been forced to endure while they were seated.
It was bad enough that I had to hear the details of their inane gabfest when they were seated at their own table, but worse to be forced to witness it across and above my own. It was as rude as if they had just plopped their fat asses down at our table and continued their conversation. Or reached across our table for the salt and pepper.
Don’t people realize that their voices are also an entity, as capable of invading someone else’s space as an actual body part? Just because sound doesn’t have physical shape or visible form, that doesn’t make its presence any less offensive when it thoughtlessly invades someone else’s space. Not only did these two self-important bitches have nothing to say, but they took so many words to say it. Each yapping exchange above our heads was akin to an elbowing on the street.
It took almost every ounce of strength I had not to stand up and give each of these harpies a sound slap across her face. Literally.
Or verbally.
Because really, either way it’s the same thing.