The person, who no matter how much space you give them, still nudges you from behind in the queue for security, passport control or boarding. It all starts with a gentle pressure against your bag or the back of your legs. Sometimes it is accompanied with a whiff of something pungent from last night’s garlic-laced meal, wafted via an effusive or impatient exhalation of breath. Once you’ve noticed it there is no turning back. No way out of the downward spiral of aggravation and latent aggression that you start to experience. You think of all the outrageous things you want to say and do, but somehow you keep it under control. After all, isn’t that what differentiates us normal people from the psychopath?
The nudging pressure is gentle but insistent. But soon it gets more forceful. You move forward a little, but like the ever-decreasing stopping distance of cars in a decelerating traffic queue, the pressure intensifies. Before you know it you have a major incident on your hands. Pushing back has had no effect and if you don’t do something soon they will be level with you and then in front. There’s a theory that if you let someone in front of you in a queue, or in a line of traffic, if it happens enough times you will end up back where you started. Maybe that’s why we just stand there, fuming, rather than taking the logical action which is to move aside politely saying ‘Why don’t you go in front of me, your journey is obviously very important and you are in a hurry … BEFORE I RIP YOUR SODDING HEAD OFF!’