There are rules, social mores that societies adhere to, sometimes without even knowing that they do. For example, there are some private behaviors – as opposed to public behaviors – that societies have agreed will rarely intersect, no matter how “natural” or “real” they’re keeping it. For example, picking one’s nose is, at times, necessary (when it’s cold enough in Minnesota, you can actually pick ice balls out of your nose. I think you can do it in Wisconsin, too, but I don’t believe it’s allowed in Michigan…). Generally speaking, it’s best you save that for a private moment, though.
I’ve recently become aware that not everyone feels the constraints of public opinion. Through the miracle of commuting and the free time I have now that I’ve given up grinding my teeth and gesticulating wildly at other drivers (the work-out routine I was into before yoga) I’ve noticed, from my perch on the bus, that some people believe that picking their noses while driving is acceptable behavior. I beg to differ. Ranking a couple notches on the Ewww Scale above the Sneaky Underwear Tug and a couple notches below farting in an elevator, picking your nose in public is not what we, in civilized society, do. You want to engage in that kind of behavior, I suggest you move to the suburbs, where that sort of thing is hardly noticed.
I keed! I keed! Please don’t send me hate mail. As a former denizen of a number of suburbs, I know full well that public nose-picking is frowned upon, even in Blaine…
And yet there they are, our little nose pickers, in traffic, in their cars, in their there’s-no-one-in-my-car-and-therefore-no-one-can-see-me world, picking their noses thoughtfully, staring blankly at the rear end of the car in front of them. What they do with the products of these nostril-dives I shall never know, as I cannot help but turn away the moment they plunge their fingers in…
But the Nose Miners are the least of my gag-inducing gripes these days. It’s the spitters that have shocked me out of the 21st century and back to the Middle Ages.
Where are we?! When did it become acceptable to spit on sidewalks? My mother would’ve shaken her head at me in disgusted disbelief for absolutely days if I’d done something like that as a child; and to this day – well, I’m just not a spitter. And I seem to do okay, in spite of this. I’m not saying that there aren’t reasons to spit. An egg salad sandwich, for example, could make me take up spitting, if only for a moment.
But not on the sidewalk!
Next time you’re in a commercial area, look around. Better yet, look down. The stains on the sidewalk? Spit! People are hoicking and spitting as if they’re getting paid to do so.
Minnesota allows no smoking in bars. I know. It’s a concept, isn’t it? It was enacted, what?, two years ago on April Fool’s Day. Fitting. And one of the things I noticed, once I was forced to stand in the out-of-doors in order to pollute myself was the number of people who smoke/spit/smoke. I’m not saying that they have a cigarette, then a chew, then another cigarette. I’m saying that they smoke cigarettes, spit on the ground, then go on to perhaps another cigarette before going back indoors to their drinks. Now that spitting, is that a nicotine thing, or is it a drunk in public thing?
So what is the spitting attraction? Do some people generate too much saliva and have to spit continually to keep from drooling? Is there some new fashion I’m unaware of? Is this a sports fan thing? A cigarette thing? An I-don’t-care-what-you-think-or-who-cleans-up-after-me thing?
What? What is it?
Terms of Endearment
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