Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I HATE! When People Read Over Your Shoulder

This actually happens to me a lot. I'll be on the subway, coming home from my office, reading a newspaper, and suddenly, I'll realize that the person sitting next to me is reading the page along with me. Number One: this is nosy - you should mind your own business. Number Two: you're probably too close for comfort: reading over someone else's shoulder often causes you to adjust yourself to be in way too close of a proximity to the original reader. You should back off. Someone could easily take your re-adjustment the wrong way and either a) call the cops on you or b) kick your ass. When someone is reading over your shoulder, you know. You can feel the impending mass. All bodies give off a certain magnetism that can be sensed even when there is no physical touching. And let me tell you, it's a pretty creepy feeling to have to sit next to someone who is hovering over you the whole way home.

And I don't even have to go into how rude it is to read over another person's shoulder. It just is. You are not to position yourself so closely to a stranger as to make them uncomfortable. It defies the laws of common courtesy. (And you all know how big of a proponent of common courtesy I am.)

Let me just also say that reading over someones shoulder when you have B.O. is completely UNACCEPTABLE. If you sense for even one second that you have B.O. (which you should totally be aware of, because if not, I feel REALLY bad for you) or smell like moth balls or have bad breath, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT ever read over someones shoulder. Yesterday, I got on the train and began my usual routine of reading the papers. At the next stop, two 20-something fellows boarded the train and instantly, the entire car filled with the scent of B.O. - B.O. that had been marinating in a gym locker for 4 years. And of course, these two lovely gentlemen sat down right next to me. I tried my hardest to ignore the scent, but it became literally unbearable when the fellow closest to me (covertly - except NOT) scooted over to try to catch a glimpse of my paper. AWFUL times a MILLION. No joke. Serious as serious can be. I could feel the vomit rising in my throat.

I can't forget to mention the fact that if someone is reading over your shoulder and you're aware of it, you are suddenly in the position of questioning whether to turn the page when you're finished reading it or whether to turn to the next page when you notice that the over-the-shoulder-reader is finished reading. This is like the BEST case scenario. This is what would happen if you're the nicest person in the world, which clearly, I am not. But even so, the over-the-shoulder-reading causes problems. Period.

On a personal note, I do not react well in this particular situation. When I catch someone reading over my shoulder, I tend to make a big deal of turning away and huffing and puffing. I will probably make you feel bad about doing it - which you should. So stop.

1 comment:

Manar of Alexandria said...

Hello Liz.I'm Manar from Egypt.I noticed you wrote this 7 years ago,have you ever read over somebody's shoulder over that period?I mean, sometimes you can't just resist, the words are just in front of you.I was in a coffeshop a couple of days ago setting on a bar taking my coffee and readin a newspaper, I noticed the man next to me reading along with me, I didn't mind, I actually stayed a little longer if I notice he like a certain piece of news.He was so close to me anyways.I believe the intimate zone in Egypt is different than yours in the U.S.