I don't know when it started but I really hate crowds and really hate having people (strangers) sit next to me. Every time I see a news clip of massive crowds of people gathered to hear the Pope, at a football/basball game, at a rally, etc, I thank the inventor of the TV! Yes, I know that TV does not have the same atmosphere as being there in person but it is sure more comfortable and convenient.
It is not that I am a recluse. I have attended concerts for Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond, Ricky Nelson and ELVIS. No denying, the experience was great - even if the view was not. Greater than that though is the enjoyment of close-ups, stereo sound, bathroom breaks (where do people "go" when surrounded by 200,00 other people?), snack breaks etc. when watching TV.
What brought this to mind was a recent dinner at our favorite pizza place. It is an informal place - the type where you place your order at the counter and when your pizza is ready, the cook yells out your name and then you pick it up. Well tonight, my wife and I were the only ones in the place (which has about 20 booths. We sat in the only one that had enough light to read by. Shortly after we sat down, another couple sat down right behind my wife. That was just a bit annoying as they had 19 other booths to sit in. Bad as that was, it soon got worse. Another couple came in and sat down - you guessed it - behind me! Next a third couple came in and sat behind the couple who was behind me! So now we have four couples sitting in a row. All talking at once while the rest of the restaurant was empty. Sort of like all of the passengers in a rowboat sitting on one side.
At the movies most poeple normally try to sit in the middle somwhere past the first 10 rows or so. As we like to be alone, we often pick seats toward the aisle and in the last row. Why the last row? Well, if not people will either sit a seat or two away in our row our just behind us. And talk throughout the whole show. In the last row though, no one can sit behind us. We have also learned to throw our coats over the seats in front of us so no one will sit there. If the the theatre fills up however, we do have the social smarts to remove our coats.
The same goes for parking. I normally try to park my car far enough away so that no one will pull along side me, open their doors and bang into my doors. On really busy shopping days that is sometimes impossible to do. But on most days, I can park a gazillion rows away from the store, hoping that no one will park with me. Wrong. Invariably someone will park right next to me even though there are 40,000 other parking spaces.
Where am I going with this. I don't know, I just hate crowds. So if you see me in a restaurant, movie theatre, parking lot, please stay away.