As Robert Frost famously quoted, "good fences make good neighbors" - and though his fence was really a stone wall, the same can be true of any fence, even an invisible one.
Several dogs on our street have invisible fences and as someone whose heart pounds when an unknown dog races toward me barking like he's a rabid wild thing, I think it's a fabulous idea. It's so simple - an underground wire transmits a warning beep to your dog if he tries to cross the "fence". It's a win-win for you and your dog - he gets to frolic freely and you know he's not roaming the streets getting into mischief, plus your neighbors aren't afraid to walk past your home. So, why do I want one? I don't even have a dog . . .
What I want is a reverse invisible fence, a perimeter around me that keeps people out. I would feel much more neighborly towards strangers if they were not so close! Perhaps I should call my new fence The Invisible Personal Space - of course, I have an invisible personal space already . . . we all do. The problem is that not everyone respects it - so my idea is to have an invisible one that sends a little warning beep to Members of the Public who try to cross this line. The generally accepted distance for personal space (in the US) is an arm's length. If you want to get technical, there are four different levels of personal space, but the one called 'Social Distance' is 4 to 12 feet. That's right - four feet is the minimum!
This means the following behaviors are not allowed:
- close talking (remember Aaron from Seinfeld?)
- bumping the ankles of the person in front of you with your grocery cart (wow! does that hurt)
- breathing on people as you push them down the airplane aisle in your haste to deplane
- touching babies who aren't yours - no matter how cute!
- standing closer than you have to on public transportation
- sitting so close your legs/arms touch the person beside you, unless the seat is extremely crowded
- etcetera, etcetera, etcetera (to quote Yul Brynner)
I hope your weekend includes plenty of personal space!