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Friday, January 7, 2011

Maybe It's Social Commentary

Another Friday, ladies and gentlemen, and we ask ourselves, Can we trust this one? I mean, sure, we had all that faith in last Friday and yet what did it do for us? If only we had a way of knowing, say, which days could be relied upon, what was in store for us…

But wait! We can. Imbued with mystical and perhaps wholly fictitious powers of foresight, my iPod, set on shuffle and played during the course of my morning’s commute, warns of the following:

Higher?! By Pigeon John
Miles Behind by Medeski, Schofield, Martin and Wood
Loops of Fury by Chemical Brothers
Double Dare by Bauhaus
Icky Thump by The White Stripes
Fences by Phoenix
Mister Love by The Toadies
Amos Moses by Jerry Reed

What? No Rimsky-Korsakov? No Patsy Cline? Still, a pretty eclectic play list there. Clearly we are to watch for suspicious packages, not mix liquor and wine, and avoid those in corduroy pants.

So I was thinking the other day about rules and the 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.

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 my fellow commuters (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.

I keed! I keed! 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?, four 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?

Do some people generate too much saliva and have to spit continually to keep from drooling? Is this a 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?

Help me out here.


Leenie said...

Already late for work. But I'm gonna just say that I totally agree about the Eeeew factor of all of the above. Nose picking in Idaho is frowned upon. Also very difficult when wearing mittens or even gloves.

It's possible to get away with spitting but nothing drains when the air is arctic. And if it does the loogies freeze before they hit the snow and melt with the other debris in around--June.

Grant said...

I quit taking my blood pressure meds and as a result the dizzy spells stopped, but I still haven't died of a heart attack. Also nobody has wished me a happy new year today, which is a first for this year, so it's all coming up bunnies on my side.

Sarah said...

Oh man! I'm gonna have to print this out and make my hubby read it.

He is one of those smokers--the spitting kind. He insists that he MUST spit while smoking. Never really told me what would happen if it doesn't. Maybe his head will blow up?

And when we're at home? We smoke out on our porch which has a concrete floor and he insists on spitting on that very same floor. And yes, there are STAINS from it!

Eeeew eeeew eeew! I hate spittle, not to pun but it literally makes me gag to see it!

The worse part is the fact that he could simply spit out the bottom part of our screen door (which is missing screen) so his nasty habit wouldn't stain our porch. But apparently that's too difficult for him to remember to do.

Oilfield Trash said...

Ah Bauhaus. My favorite band to get stoned to back in my younger years.

Eva Gallant said...

You are so on the money! I am a basesball fan and I get so tired of watching the players spit. I don't know which is worse; them spitting or constantly adjusting their junk.

Joanie said...

Oh lord! I was gagging, just reading about the spit! Yuck!!

Camille said...

*Gack*...just getting over the flu and the visuals got to me. You write too darn well Pearlie Girl. Boogers, lugies, and egg salad sandwiches - oh Lord, give me strength. Must go lay back down now.

Symdaddy said...

I agree with you on all points. Dis-bloody-gusting!

But what really gets up my nose is the amount of young men on the streets these days who constantly have their hands in their pants rearranging, or just generally playing with, their 'dongle'. Some of the 'bigger' boys feel the need to use BOTH hands!

I don't play with mine on the street and you certainly don't see women playing with their 'USB port', so what's it all about?

As a man I fully appreciate that an occasional re-adjustment may be necessary, but come on! There is a time and a place, don't you think?


A. Prude, Cardiff

Sausage Fingers said...

I love a good spit aka goughle, methinks that it is a manly sporty John Wayne Clint Eastwood type of thing. Like here I am (Spit) draw yer guns.
I don't know I have been working with strong chemicals all morning so I might be a bit high....
Cheers, I think.. saus

Simply Suthern said...

Amos Moses, What a classic!! You actually have that on your Ipod?? I'm Jealous.

I have a song about buggars. I will share if I can find.

BTW it's frowned on here as well.

I dint know much about spittin and smoken but Chewin and dippin will make you need to spit. The high class ones carry around a nice spitcup.

Hutch said...

Absolute worst - those who cover one nostril and blow the other one out on the street. I saw this once and almost collapsed into a fetal position, but I was afraid to get on the ground. It still haunts me.

Simply Suthern said...

Hutch, At the risk of TMI, those are called, not in any socially acceptable order, Snot Rockets, Mucus Missiles or Buggar Bullets.

Pearl said...

Also, Hutch and Simply, known as the "Farmer Shot" around here.


My son chews/spits when he's been drinking, spits into whatever empty bottle is near him.

He's an otherwise lovely man. :-)

Pearl said...

... and I DO have Amos Moses on my iPod! :-) Not only that, but am living for the day I've both had several beers and see it listed for karaoke. I got that sucker memorized.


Happy Frog and I said...

I hate it when I see copious amounts of spittle on sidewalks, yuk! It's been going on for years in the UK. Main places I have noticed it are Reading and North London but I am sure it happens all over the place. Gross!

Pat Tillett said...

I blame sports television! They have no problem cathing and holding a shot with a player adjusting his or her "equipment" and/or spitting on camera. Monkey see, monkey do...

Sweet Cheeks said...

...you were saying?

Jhon Baker said...

I can't stand it when people just spit out their much as though it belongs to the earth or street or city sidewalk. It is far from appealing and at least disgusting. I think it may be an extension of the male need to spread out the DNA! Which, if scooped up while wearing gloves and a gas mask at least - you could clone them and this time around teach them better manners - or more simply, plant the evidence at a crime scene and turn them in. Whichever makes you happier (which probably is to not come near the offensive bile spewed out for public consideration).

The Vegetable Assassin said...

EW SPITTING! Nasty. One thing that really turns my stomach is watching someone hawk up a greeny on the sidewalk. It's disgusting. I hate when sports guys do it too. Why do you have to spit just because you have muscles. No comprendez senor! Shudder.

Now I have the skeevies, Pearl, look what you did.

Jinksy said...

I'd say spitting is nothing more than a silly affectation, a habit that should have been stamped upon in the indiviudual's youth, before such a habit took root !

Kal said...

The worst part comes in spring when all that frozen spit melts at the same time. Then I see kids running barefoot across the pavement. Then I barf (in the drain because doing so on the sidewalk is disgusting).

Douglas said...

Nobody likes a spitter, Pearl. That's an adage I have heard and respected since I entered mid-puberty (maybe 4 years ago?). If you think it's bad on sidewalks, you ought to try putting through it on greens!

People not only pick their noses while driving but also sing out loud (and out of tune) to whatever is playing on the radio. Do they think they are taking a shower or something?

Kass said...

I agree. It's a pretty disgusting habit, but why am I most compelled to dig at my nose in my car. Is it especially dry in there? I restrain myself, but at no other time am I so tempted in public.

Cheeseboy said...

I'm sure my first graders would love to pick ice balls and eat them.

Love the play list. White Stripes and Phoenix in particular. We share some great taste. (I can say that because I know I have great taste.) (I know I have great taste, because, I mean, come on. You know?)

Gigi said...

I am SO going to have MC read this and all the comments! I've been on his case for years about the spitting thing. It's DISGUSTING! Even as a young boy he has felt the need to spit - and I don't know where he gets it from - his father doesn't spit for no reason.

As gross as "chewing/spitting" is at least you can understand that need to spit. But to spit just to spit? Ugggh! Gives me shivers just to type it.

becca said...

like totally EWW gross

Lazarus said...

Thanks for typing the word "fart" in a post Pearl, I was feeling so alone out here in blogland. I feel validated!

Beta Dad said...

Jerry Reed? I haven't even thought about him since the last time I saw Smokey and the Bandit. Now I have to look him up on itudes. Sorry, "iTunes." My finger got tangled up in a booger on the keyboard.

Beta Dad said...

Also, I just watched 24 minutes worth of Jerry Reed videos.

Roses said...

Firstly, one should always avoid people in cordouroy.

Secondly, nose-picking in public is wrong. As is having a crafty scratch and sniff. Their mothers should be ashamed.

Thirdly, spitting is disgusting. I smoke and I never, ever spit...okay, I do when I brush my teeth...but that's in private and it's hygienic.

It's also a good way to spread germs.

Did I say it's disgusting?

Georgina Dollface said...

You know what grosses me out as much, if not more than nose picking and spitting? It's seeing some dude walking down the street, stopping, leaning over a bit and then doing the one nostril nose blow onto the side-walk. You know the one I am talking about. They hold one nostril closed with a thumb or forefinger, then blow with all their might to dislodge whatever booger or snot is up there out onto the sidewalk. It is like spitting and picking your nose, combined into one disgusting move. Yuck! - G