A group of people waiting at a bus terminal.
One man raises his index finger, pushes it alongside his left nostril, twists his head to one side and blows a big wad of snot out of his right nostril onto the sidewalk just a few feet from where a woman is standing with her toddler.
The snot lays there green and glistening.
The toddler stares at it; stares at the man; then looks up at his mother. The mother pulls the toddler away – far away from the man. The toddler looks tired and confused.
The man, oblivious, then repeats his finger to the nostril action with his other hand on his other nostril, blowing a smaller, albeit no less green, wad of snot to his other side. The man then snorts deeply and spits whatever is left in mucal passages onto a bus tire in front of him.
All the people at the bus stop shuffle away, giving the man wide berth.
I feel a little gaggy.
There have been times in my life, especially while running on a cold morning, when I felt the need to spit in public. On the rare occasion when I couldn’t resist this need, I found some weedy, untraveled area in which to do it. Generally, I try to express my fluids into appropriate receptacles.
Oh, there was the time when my daughter was about 5 and we were walking by a sidewalk café filled with Saturday morning patrons enjoying brunch in the sunshine. The sight and smell of all those Egg Bennies must have been too much for the kid because she suddenly stopped and said, “I feel sick” and in the same breath puked up all her breakfast on the sidewalk, inches from the diners. I just picked her up and fled to the nearest public facility. That was seriously gross, but I don’t know what else I could have done.
Anyway, a lot of people young and old, male and female seem to be spitting constantly. I’ve seen teenagers standing around in a group punctuating each other’s sentences every few seconds with streams of saliva. Every few minutes they have to move over to avoid the spit puddles. Where are they getting all this spit?
Sidewalks everywhere are dotted with phlegm. And gum. People also spit their gum on the sidewalk a lot. Baseball players also still hoark that brown juice all over the field.
I find it all a little unseemly and inconsiderate.
A lot of places made spitting illegal back in the early 20th century to try and curb the spread of tuberculosis. I guess you can catch TB from other people’s infected spit. The laws are still on the books in many countries.
There are also some pretty stiff fines for public spitters in some parts of the US. As I could find out, Calgary is the only place in Canada that has anti-spitting laws. And those where just enacted recently.
I don’t think we need any more laws. Sometimes laws like this are just handy excuses to hassle the homeless or disenfranchised. But in general, people who make a habit of spewing around their bodily fluids should somehow be taught some manners.
Like maybe it could be arranged that whatever people spit, blow or otherwise expel from their person could bounce back off the sidewalk and hit them smack face or something. That would be cool.