I have saved many plant-lives by hand-pruning dying leaves while avoiding interaction and this makes me feel better as a person, which is a sort of validation for my shrinking-violet ways. In an odd twist of universal serendipity, it is my long-suffering misfortune that strangers will pick me out at random for conversation, or worse, to voice their opinion on topics for which I rarely have interest and seldom have knowledge. This being the case, I have become a sort of Jedi-Master at the Art of Avoidance, using many schools of technique to slip, parry or block interpersonal contact.
So, imagine my delight when I stumbled upon an article entitled "How to Keep Strangers From Sitting Next To You : A Study". I clicked on the link and got out my notepad, preparing to jot down any new techniques that may have been invented of which I had no knowledge.
This from the article: "Some of the tips for avoiding your fellow travelers are dictated by physical postures, such as avoiding eye contact, staring out the window with a blank stare or simply pretending to be asleep. While others are more overtly antisocial, like placing your bag on the empty seat next to you, listening to your iPod, or even lying and saying the seat next to has already been taken." I sighed. Amateurs, I mumbled to myself. Rank amateurs... I have done all the above many times while sitting on a barstool in a dark tavern, or at a little league game - there was nothing for me to learn here.
So I decided it might be better if I took this opportunity to teach instead of learn. I will now bestow on you my top-five secret tips for Antisocialism in a Public Venue:
- Mutter to yourself. When forced into a social situation (I usually beg off whenever possible, using a variety of stomach-virus-related maladies, which gives me the flexibility to select vomit, feces, aches or fever as an unpredictable variable that most sound-minded hosts or hostesses would prefer to avoid), I have found that staging a constant inner-dialogue will create a field of space from 4-6 feet around my area that others will not breach. A solid strategy, though others will speak of you with derision or concern, thus ironically drawing attention to yourself while forcing those around you to keep their distance. I have found that repeating "I hate being white people" in a low monotone while crinkling my brow is particularly effective.
- Appear unclean. Whether it is a wrinkled wardrobe, strategically-placed food-stain or splotch of dirt on your clothing, or a smear of used motor oil on your throat or cheek, the suggestion of filth will invariably force others to turn away as you approach. While it is not certain whether this is a fear of an accompanying odor (see #3) or simply an aversion to things unclean, this is a steady go-to in a pinch.
- Harbor a foul odor. Nothing is as effective as skunk spray for keeping others away, but finding a skunk to instigate is difficult work if the skunk are not indigenous to your area. That said, if given enough notice, one can cultivate a hearty stink by abstaining from the shower and toothbrush. Working in a little sweat in the heat of the day and drinking cheap brandy will increase the foulness if time is not a luxury. If you smoke cigarettes, or better yet, low-end cigars, do this in an enclosed space, like a coat-closet or a refrigerator box. This will do the trick.
- In emergency situations, evacuate your bladder or bowels. I must stress that this particular measure is only to be considered in the event of the most dire of emergencies. Pulling this antisocial ripcord will affect not only your reputation and ongoing status as a human being, but also the rest of your evening. Remember that you will need to find your way home one way or the other and the time between evacuation and the ensuing cleanup could be some time and it will inevitably be uncomfortable. If you are planning to be in a situation where this option would even be a remote consideration, it may be best if you attend packing heat.
- Only given the option of life or death should the following be employed: ALL OF THE ABOVE. Granted, while setting into motion option #4, options #2 and #3 will immediately be live. Again, some pre-work on the part of filth and stink will only enhance the effectiveness of this extreme measure. Once you have evacuated, start mumbling. This is certain to clear out all in attendance. Be forewarned, however, that employing this method may eventually bring law-enforcement into play, with the possibility of arrest, incarceration and a brief stay in the mental ward a distinct possibility. Or so I've heard.
Please note that this document is suitable for framing.