I can’t breathe.

Who doesn’t remember the Close-Talker from Seinfeld? And who can’t relate?

I get a little claustrophobic at times. In crowds, for sure. And I really get antsy when someone is in my personal space. Is there something wrong with me? Maybe. But it’s not relevant. It makes me nuts.

If you don’t laugh (although clearly I have no guarantee you won’t), I’ll tell you my cool air theory.

I breathe the cooler air the best. The easiest. When I walk around or even stay still, the air temperature changes slightly. Kind of like in a lake. It’s colder in spots. And warmer in spots. (And not just the spots where the toddler was swimming.)

Back to the air. Those cool spots are really refreshing. When I feel closed in or stuffy or whatever, I crave for a cool spot of air. Usually, by moving my head a bit, I can find one. Sometimes, sadly, I cannot.

Okay, I’ve gotten off on a tangent.

I really wanted to tell you about an encounter I had with a close-talker last night.

I went to a charity event. I was a speaker there, and I’m a board member. So, I feel as if one of my responsibilities (and I enjoy it anyway) is to mingle and greet and chat – even with the people I don’t know as well, or (okay, here’s some serious honesty) that I don’t relate to as well. One such woman approached me last night.

I like this woman. She is interesting and does some wonderful things in the community. But she and I are in different galaxies. She is slow and deliberate and thinks before each word. I am fast and cheery and… anyway, I think fast and I talk fast. It’s just who I am. I’m not saying it’s better. Not at all. It’s just who I am. (And I’m perfectly happy this way.) And she is just who she is.

So she approached me and we were talking. Her face was – and I kid you not – about 5 inches from mine.



So, I stepped back.
And she stepped forward.

And this continued for what seemed like 20 minutes. It was probably 20 seconds.

But whatever.

What to do? I couldn’t breathe. I was starting to panic.

I put my hand to my mouth, turned my head, and I coughed.

And I said, “Excuse me.”

She stepped back.

I think I’m on to something here.


5 thoughts on “I can’t breathe.

  1. That’s a terrific idea!

    But wouldn’t it be great to be able to force a BIG, WET sneeze instead, as an alternative? HA HA! That would “work a treat”, as my John would say.

    I’m going to file your coughing idea away for future reference! Fabulous idea!


  2. Ugh, a woman did that to me a month or two ago after I spoke at a church. I’d forgotten about it until now, thanks for dredging up repressed memories. 😉 I think I was more amazed at how oblivious to how terribly uncomfortable I was. Gah! When you can feel a stranger’s breath on your face…just Gah!

  3. i agree with kristin….i’m trying to come up with the person, but there are too many options. 🙂

    as for close talkers, at least it was a woman. i have a lot of men at my job that insist on being too close. ick! i will try the cough/sneeze option and see if it helps get me some distance when there is a wall at my back.


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