Thursday, December 06, 2007

What Are You, a Camel?

A few years ago I was walking from the subway to the office when I worked in Boston. There was a man walking ahead of me and to the right. He turned his head to the left and spat a giant loogie across my path. It splattered onto the sidewalk right in front of my feet. Had I been walking a bit faster, I probably would have gotten pegged by that loogie on my right temple. This wasn’t the first time I saw something like this happen, without thinking, I called the guy out on his flying phlegm

Beej: Hey! What the hell was that?

Guy: What?

Beej: You almost hit me with that loogie you just spat out.

Guy: Huh? Oh, sorry.

The guy kept walking, and I decided to walk just a bit slower in case he would be a repeat offender. For awhile after that I was completely paranoid about men on the sidewalk. I wasn’t paranoid for the normal reasons a woman would be paranoid—fear of being mugged, fear of being assaulted. My fear was of being spat upon.

I have since gotten over my paranoia, and am now afraid of the normal things like flying stinging insects, or the potential of bring crapped upon from above by a bird. Then yesterday my spitophobia acted up again.

I took the bus into Providence yesterday to meet Todd at his office. I will do this on occasion so that we can do things together in the city without having separate cars. Todd’s office is north of the city, and we live to the south, so I had to change buses in Providence to get to his office.

I sat down on my second bus next to an old man with a cane. The bus was rapidly filling up, and we were waiting for the driver to close the doors. Right before we were scheduled to leave, a woman who worked for the Transit Authority walked onto the bus and began to chastise my seatmate.

Woman: You cannot spit on this bus, sir.

Old Man: There is no law against spitting, Ma’am.

Woman: Yes there is a law, you cannot spit on RIPTA buses, sir. If you spit on a bus one more time, you will be banned from riding the bus. Got it?

Old Man: I didn’t do anything illegal.

Woman: You cannot spit on the bus, sir. It’s gross. If you need to spit, do it outside.

Old Man: But I didn’t need to spit when I was out there. I didn’t need to until I was on the bus.

(At this point I had to bite my tongue and resist the urge to say “What? Are you two years old? Are you going to pee on the bus too because you didn’t have to do when you were off the bus? What the hell is wrong with you?”)

Woman: Sir, think of the other people on the bus, they don’t want to have to deal with your spit.

Old Man: I didn’t do anything wrong.

At this point the bus turned into a Baptist church scene in the movies. The other riders began to chime into the conversation. They groaned at the man’s insistence that he had done nothing wrong. There were shouts of “That’s disgusting” and I thought I even heard a “Were you raised in a barn?” from the back of the bus.

Spitophobia instantly kicked in. I panicked and scanned the bus for another seat and didn’t see one. I was stuck where I was for the ride. I didn’t want to stand because I was also paranoid about slipping on this man’s spit, which could have been anywhere on that floor, and falling into it and having his spit on me. I distracted myself by talking to another woman on the bus about her baby, and luckily Phlegmy McSpitterton got off on one of the first stops. When I got off at my stop I felt my sneaker slip on a wet spot on the floor, and was instantly grossed out because I knew that I just found the spit puddle.

Like I said earlier, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen a stranger spit in a public space. Yet I’ve never seen my father do it, nor have I seen my brothers or my husband spit in public either. Why do men do this? I suspect that these people aren’t walking around brushing their teeth and need to spit out the toothpaste. What is it that these men have in their mouths that they constantly need to spit out?



Blogger Gypsy said...

Ugh, it's so gross!

December 7, 2007 at 10:10 AM  
Blogger *~*Cece*~* said...




Years ago, when I was w/Al, we went to a local CA casino w/some friends of his who frequently visited the establishment. While walking the parking lot we were warned by the friend about the Asian men who "shot snot out of their nose". I was like HUH? WTF is he talking about?? And then I saw it for myself. Just ahead of us, in the parking lot, an Asian man was struggling with loogie. He put one figer to a nostril, turned his head (still walking towards the casino) and blew. We stopped, to avoid stranger snot hitting us, and just watched in awe.

Up until that day I had never seen an adult shoot snot out of his face like he was turning to inhale the beautiful fragrance of a blooming rose.


December 10, 2007 at 12:10 AM  

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