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Counting room

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Topic: 2) Counting room (1 of 23), Read 146 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Barbara Wallraff (msgrammar@theatlantic.com)
Date: Wednesday, May 12, 1999 08:50 AM

Josh Manchester, of Durham, N.C., writes: "What is the word for the appropriate distance to wait while the person in front of you transacts business at a cash machine? Seems like a word that could come in handy in many court cases."

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Topic: 2) Counting room (2 of 23), Read 122 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Michael Fischer (tsuwm@aol.com)
Date: Wednesday, May 12, 1999 02:23 PM

social science and/or psychology have given us the following to deal with "personal space":

proxemics - the study of the nature, degree, and effect of the spatial separation individuals naturally maintain (as in various social and interpersonal situations) and of how this separation relates to environmental and cultural factors

the legal eagles may well have an even more esoteric formulation....

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Topic: 2) Counting room (3 of 23), Read 122 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Rus Bowden (lowelldude@aol.com)
Date: Wednesday, May 12, 1999 08:36 PM

Michael,

We're in the same ball game here. As I log on I have my old Psychology of Communications textbook open. It's called "Human Communications" and it's by Stewart L. Tubbs and Sylvia Moss, published by Random House in 1987.

Edward Hall gave his study of space the name "proxemics" and studied the behavior of people at certain specified distances. Robert Sommer was concerned with "personal space", "an area with invisible boundaries surrounding a person's body into which intruders may not come" and was "careful to distinguish his use of the personal space from Hall's use of the term "territory.'"

For the purposes of this discussion, I'm leaning more towards using proxemics, Hall's stuff, because, according to Sommer, everyone's personal space is different, and it seems to apply to a different kind of social situation than what we are after here. For instance, "he found that people who were rated high in their need for affiliation sat an average of fifty-seven inches away from a target person, whereas those who were low in their need for affiliation sat approximately ninety-four inches away."

The other reason I'm leaning towards proxemics, is that I distinctly remember that waiting in lines entered into the classroom lessons on the topic. I just cannot now remember the details of lesson. So I will take the ball you've put into play, carry it a little further, and maybe you or someone else can take it the rest of the way.

What's between the lines below is taken directly from the text. The work cited is Hall's 1959 book, "The Silent Language" (New York, Fawcett). I will quote only the first sentence or two from each of the four sections.
__________________________________________

Hall describes human relationships in terms of four kinds of distance: intimate, personal, social, and public.

Intimate Distance

At intimate distance, which is eighteen inches or less, the presence of another person "is unmistakable and may at times be overwhelming because of the greatly stepped up sensory inputs" (Hall, 1959, p. 116)....

Personal Distance

Hall compares personal distance, which is from one and a half to four feet, to "a small protective sphere or bubble that an organism maintains between itself and others" (1959, p. 119)....

Social Distance

Social distance, ranging from four to twelve feet, is described as a psychological distance, "one at which the animal apparently begins to feel anxious when he exceeds its limits. We can think of it as a hidden band that contains the group....

Public Distance

The largest of zones, public distance, denotes twelve feet or more of space, and it exists only in human relationships....
__________________________________________

I am no legal expert, but from what the text goes on to say, I would be cautious about taking proxemics into legal territory. It talks about the diversity of cultures within the United States, and James C. Baxter's 1970 work, "Interpersonal Spacing in Natural Settings" in Sociometry 33. His study showed "sizable differences in the way Anglo, black, and Mexican American's regulate distance when communicating. Mexican's stand closest to one another, Anglos are intermediate, and blacks are most distant. Age and sex also make differences. Children interact at the closest range and adults the farthest, with spacing between adolescents intermediate. The range in male-female groups is closest and in male-male groups farthest, with female-female groups intermediate."

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Topic: 2) Counting room (4 of 23), Read 126 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Michael Fischer (tsuwm@aol.com)
Date: Thursday, May 13, 1999 12:09 PM

if we can agree that proxemics describes conceptually what Josh is asking about, perhaps we could propose a little back-formation to arrive at the adjective he wants: a proxemic distance.

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Topic: 2) Counting room (5 of 23), Read 123 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Rus Bowden (lowelldude@aol.com)
Date: Thursday, May 13, 1999 12:46 PM

Michael,

Maybe what we are really looking for is "off sides" or "interference". The legal eagles would then need to be concerned with "encroachment."

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Topic: 2) Counting room (6 of 23), Read 111 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Jonathan Gellman (kirschgell@earthlink.net)
Date: Thursday, May 13, 1999 11:04 PM

One wry solution may be define a "cache point", beyond which you won't step, in order that someone else can take his or her cash/cache in a zone of privacy, secure in the sense of concealment that "cache" connotes.


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Topic: 2) Counting room (7 of 23), Read 109 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Barbara Wallraff (msgrammar@theatlantic.com)
Date: Friday, May 14, 1999 09:25 AM

I like that idea. May I say it has cachet?

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Topic: 2) Counting room (8 of 23), Read 87 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Michael Fischer (tsuwm@aol.com)
Date: Monday, May 17, 1999 03:59 PM

On 5/14/99 9:25:28 AM, Barbara Wallraff wrote:
>I like that idea. May I say it
>has cachet?


well... okay; but I'd steer clear of
cachalot!

8-)




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Topic: 2) Counting room (9 of 23), Read 83 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Barbara Wallraff (msgrammar@theatlantic.com)
Date: Monday, May 17, 1999 05:04 PM

Michael,

Are you trying to make us cachinnate?

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Topic: 2) Counting room (10 of 23), Read 79 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Michael Fischer (tsuwm@aol.com)
Date: Tuesday, May 18, 1999 11:26 AM


>Are you trying to make us cachinnate?

::ahem:: don't be offended, but let me present you with a nice cachou....




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Topic: 2) Counting room (11 of 23), Read 91 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Roger Gay (roger.f.gay@telia.se)
Date: Monday, May 17, 1999 05:16 AM

... a comfortable distance.

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Topic: 2) Counting room (12 of 23), Read 77 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Barbara Wallraff (msgrammar@theatlantic.com)
Date: Tuesday, May 18, 1999 04:47 PM

Michael,

Perhaps it's you who needs the cachou? Is that cachaca I smell on your breath?

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Topic: 2) Counting room (13 of 23), Read 76 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Michael Fischer (tsuwm@aol.com)
Date: Tuesday, May 18, 1999 06:07 PM

Barbara,

You're straying into cacoepy -- look out for that cachepot!!

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Topic: 2) Counting room (14 of 23), Read 73 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Barbara Wallraff (msgrammar@theatlantic.com)
Date: Tuesday, May 18, 1999 10:38 PM

I, cacoepy? Not likely. However, need I -- need you -- be concerned that a cacoŽthes is impelling you?

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Topic: 2) Counting room (15 of 23), Read 71 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Michael Fischer (tsuwm@aol.com)
Date: Wednesday, May 19, 1999 11:45 AM

cache this, (note informal greeting ;)

the only uncontrollable urge I have is the srcibendi type, but there may be a cacodemon at work here. see also the new 'Pass the Kleenex' thread.

cachoo later,
Michael

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Topic: 2) Counting room (16 of 23), Read 64 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Roger Gay (roger.f.gay@telia.se)
Date: Wednesday, May 19, 1999 12:01 PM

Your cache construct seems too slow, cheechakos.

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Topic: 2) Counting room (17 of 23), Read 50 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Ellen Holty (volume@sirius.com)
Date: Thursday, May 27, 1999 12:22 AM

How about "space cushion?"

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Topic: 2) Counting room (18 of 23), Read 48 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: John Posten (jposten@shore.co.monmouth.nj.us)
Date: Thursday, May 27, 1999 12:54 PM

I like the 'cushion' reference; especially because we are seeking sufficient privacy so the person behind us can't decipher our 'PIN' number. So, PIN-room, or even 'pin cushion' is good. Pin cushions are probably in ever decreasing use these days; the phrase deserves a new lease on life.

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Topic: 2) Counting room (19 of 23), Read 41 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Aaron Reneker (zanazarius@yahoo.com)
Date: Tuesday, June 01, 1999 02:54 PM

Agreed, pin cushion lovers, but I think the pun involved would likely cause more puns to be spun...such as, how did we get stuck with such a phrase, and I see your point about pin cushions. Shakespeare would gag....

Aaron

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Topic: 2) Counting room (20 of 23), Read 42 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Barbara Wallraff (msgrammar@theatlantic.com)
Date: Wednesday, June 02, 1999 08:55 AM

Well, I must say, that's a little bit rude, Aaron. Or is it meant as a pun, gags being funny? Silly me, I like "PIN cushion." In fact, I like it so much that I am now going to award John the coveted(?), the one, the only, Word Fugitives Bureau of Investigation Special Agent of the Week prize. Well done, John. Hip hip hooray! Congratulations! Huzzah!

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Topic: 2) Counting room (21 of 23), Read 29 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Aaron Reneker (zanazarius@yahoo.com)
Date: Thursday, June 03, 1999 01:01 PM

Pun intended, rudeness not.

Aaron

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Topic: 2) Counting room (22 of 23), Read 33 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Barbara Wallraff (msgrammar@theatlantic.com)
Date: Thursday, June 03, 1999 03:27 PM

Good man. Thanks for the clarification.

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Topic: 2) Counting room (23 of 23), Read 5 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Michael Carano (mcarano@neo.rrcom)
Date: Thursday, June 10, 1999 06:59 AM

We should take a German word which exactly describes this situation and add it to the language. The word is "farfenforever" and refers to the time spent in line. I found this in the German Dictionary "Gunther's Wurd Werde Deutsche Dictionary", but the definition notes that after 5 minutes the word automatically becomes "friginfarfenforever" and shows the German propensity to compound words incessantly and confound students of the language. Hope this is helpful.

Caddie Blowindawind


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