A version of this entry appeared previously on Snarky’s Machine
As a person who does not particularly enjoy unsolicited social engagement, I find myself locked in an epic battle to protect my precious SAUs (social attention units). I am constantly road testing strategies to ensure this adorable and accessible looking face doesn’t start interactions this adorable and inaccessible mind is unable to sustain. If this is not your experience, I’m happy for you, but I can probably do without hearing all the ways in which this makes me “lucky”. I don’t feel lucky and if I don’t moderate my time I’m exhausted when it’s over and disappointed with myself I didn’t fake labor in order to secure my escape.
One strategy I employ involves heavy use of my cellphone. Seriously, I will not leave my house without my phone and will always call someone and talk to them. People often try to talk to me in public places, asking for suggestions or making nice nice. Now, when I’m in the south, all this goes out the window cause it’s real bad manners not to offer your opinion on the heat when asked by a southerner. Besides, they know when the conversation has run its course and are more than happy to mosey along their merry way.
The other strategy I employ is carrying around books. I read them in line and just about any place where there are a collection of strangers waiting for something to happen.
Here is Snarky’s Trust me I’ve done the legwork approved list of books that guarantee your personal space bubble will not be breached.* Inclusion on the list does not constitute a recommendation – though nearly all were enjoyable to me – rather it simply means the title provided effective protection of SAUs.
Airports and such
- This would probably strike most as counterintuitive, but AIRPORT LIT is the best choice to avoid AIRPORT bubble breachers. I’m talking about pulling out the big guns: Crichton, Grisham, Balducci, Grafton and Cook. People often romanticize air travel believing anyone flying has the potential to be enthralling.
It’s a great time to pick up a copy of A Time to Kill This Close Talking Assclown or S is for STEP OFF BUBBLE BREACHER.** The key here is the copy should be totally brand new, preferably purchased from the gift shop. Extra points for using the receipt as a bookmark. Additional note: obscure titles are generally less effective and tend to welcome rather than discourage conversation.
- “F” is for Fugitive (The Kinsey Millhone Alphabet Mysteries) by Sue Grafton
- Airframe by Dr. Michael Crichton
Waiting Rooms – Medical
- Since there is often a paucity of anything worth reading if you’re not say a parent, gun enthusiast or a card carrying member of AARP, the selection of periodicals provided offer no immunity from bubble breachers whose first comment will involve noting the vintage of the magazines. If you ARE a parent, gun enthusiast or a card carrying member of AARP certainly your lived experiences are probably a lot more exciting than what could be found in those stale periodicals.
Books with provocative titles casting medical professionals or the profession in general in a rather unflattering light are the most effective. Your Dentist might not have read Marathon Man but it’s likely they will know what is meant by the phrase “Marathon Man Dentistry”. If this is the first time you’re hearing this phrase, google is definitely your friend. I’ll let you do the legwork on that one.
- Marathon Man by William Goldman
- Examining Tuskegee: The Infamous Syphilis Study and Its Legacy by Susan M. Reverby
- Coma by Dr. Robin Cook
Waiting Rooms – Other
- A diverse range of subjects are suitable for SAUs protection. I lean towards books overtly sexual in nature, though best selling “female” focused self help and astrology titles are useful as well. Car Dealerships are good places to bring out the feminist non fiction or a “Clown Horn” feminist work like Fear of Flying. There is something about a book exploring a woman’s sexual awakening that will make people scoot away and redirect their attention to The Price is Right faster than you can utter “zipless fuck”.
- The Joy of Sex by Alex Comfort
- Cathy Twentieth Anniversary Collection by Cathy Guisewite
- Oriental Girls Desire Romance by Catherine Liu
- Germs, Guns and Steel by Jared Diamond
- How to Spot a Bastard by His Star Sign: The Ultimate Horrorscope by Lang & Rajah
Coffeehouses, Bookstores and other “enlightened” spaces
- Since folks often venture to these establishments for the express purposes of imposing themselves on strangers Young Adult fiction is often the best bet. Nothing thwarts this particular strain of breacher like the idea that you just might not be very well read.
- Love & Betrayal & Hold the Mayo (Victoria Martin Trilogy) by Francine Pascal
- Sooner or Later by Bruce and Carole Hart
- Dinky Hocker Shoots Smack by M.E. Kerr
- “Offensive” titles are the strongest weapon in the bubble breach protection arsenal. Think of them as broad spectrum antibiotics to be used judiciously.
- Hoochie Mama: The Other White Meat by Erika Lopez
- Razor Wire Pubic Hair by Carlton Mellick
- Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria by Beverly Daniel Tatum
- The Killing Rage: Ending Racism by bell hooks
* offer void where prohibited. some restrictions may apply.
** actual titles may vary. check local outlets for similar products available in your area.