Mason County News
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The Crush of the Crowd
Wednesday, July 15, 2009 • Posted July 15, 2009

I have two aversions that do not mesh well with my profession. I do not like long meetings, which considering I sat through five hours of meetings on Monday, was a tough day for me. And, I am not comfortable in crowds.

The Roundup parade is not too difficult for me to navigate, as I tend to be in front of the crowd with my camera. It gets a little tighter once I negotiate for a prime spot during the jackass race, and then move across the courthouse lawn for shots of the arts & crafts fair. As long as I can keep moving, I don't have too much of a problem with the crowds.

Several of my friends headed out to The Old Peanut Mill on Friday night for the Cory Morrow concert. I knew it would be packed, so I used that night as a "time out" to grab some rest. On Saturday night, I avoided the rodeo dance for the same reason. The thought of being shoulder-to-shoulder with everyone, and being unable to move, was enough to justify my heading home and getting to bed early.

It doesn't take a lot of people to start making me nervous. If too many people crowd around my desk and cut off my ability to scoot away, I start to get fidgety and will urge folks to move back into the main walkway. I wouldn't really call it claustrophobia so much as simply an aversion to people crowding around me.

Oddly enough, I don't have a problem with some groups. When I do Story Time at the Library, the kids tend to move all around me until they've got me surrounded. Of course, they're only three feet tall, and if stand up, they move back quickly!!!

I say that this doesn't mesh well with my role as editor because I tend to be at many of the events in our county. And, most of those same events usually have at least moderate crowds, if not REALLY big crowds.

I get around the problem at the Wild Game Dinner by serving in the beer booth. I'm able to stake out my own space and people have to stay on the other side of the table, so I have my territory established. Dances are a problem, as I'm right in the thick of things.

When I occasionally head over to London Hall, I look like I'm on wheels, as I'll start moving about and not stop all night. Some folks think I'm "on the prowl," and they're sort of right - I'm prowling around looking for open spaces and air that isn't full of cigarette smoke!

When I sit through long meetings, I get "wired" and have to get out and get some air. When I have folks pouring into my personal space, I have to get away. Sometimes that means completely out of the situation - sometimes it just means moving elsewhere so I won't feel crowded.

Neither of these aversions are severe enough that I start to hyperventilate or need to "shut down." They are conditions that I live with, and in most cases, simply get over.

I thought about them a lot over the last week and wondered how other folks cope with their phobias. I wondered if the people you see sitting by themselves do so out of choice as their way of distancing themselves. And, I wondered how many others, when I'm keeping a wary eye upon the one piece of open space in a crowd, are also jockeying to get into that same little piece of heaven?

It’s all just my opinion.

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