We interrupt this column for an important announcement about common decency.
Let’s get this out of the way right off the bat. Who am I to judge? I have no authority, that is for certain, and I have no doubt there are those who would probably argue that I, myself, have at some time teetered on the edge of decency. One man’s decency is another man’s, or woman’s, shock and awe. It’s my opinion, nothing more.
I don’t keep a list. I do not dig a note pad from my purse and scribble feverishly each time I witness something I consider indecent or rude. Most times, like most people, I notice and forget. There are times, though, that it is more difficult to turn off the image or the sound and it brands itself like a temporary tattoo in a crevice of my tired mind, only to resurface disturbingly from time to time.
And then it happens — I witness something so raunchy that I can’t get over it unless I just get it out of my system. So here it is.
The other day I attended a public event where near me sat a young man chewing tobacco.
Unfortunately, lots of people chew tobacco. However, not all tobacco chewers behave like this young man did. Sitting in a crowd, with many people right there around him, he spit. Repeatedly. Flagrantly. Loudly. He did not spit into a cup held close to his mouth. He leaned over lazily every few moments to let his spew string into the cup he left on the ground between his feet. I only saw it once, but from my seat had to hear it each and every time. Spit. Plop.
“She won’t give me the time of day,” I overhead once as he animatedly conversed, between spits, with his buddies about their most current dates. The tone of his statement was almost surprised that a girl wouldn’t — gasp! — want to go out with him.
You think? I waited for one of his non-chewing friends to give him a clue. A “Hey, buddy, I don’t think girls like the whole brown spit stringing out of your mouth every minute” piece of advice would have been good. Heck, I even fought the urge to say it myself. But, sigh, the advice didn’t come. But another spit did. Spit. Plop.
After my third or fourth gag reflex, I had to go. I exercised my right to leave what I deemed an uncomfortable situation. More like a situation that just grossed me out.
For me to say I am not being judgemental would be a lie, so I won’t say I’m not. It’s wrong to judge, I know. But I will not apologize for thinking and saying out loud that someone openly and by choice spitting brown mucus is gross enough, but to do it openly in front of many people is just downright rude. And I would bet the older lady sitting on the other side of him would agree with me. And the young girls behind us ... and the two men to the left of us ... and more ...
Tobacco use can be an addiction, I am fully aware. But the last time I checked, being rude didn’t qualify as one.
Just my opinion. Nothing more.
Sorry for the interruption.
Contact columnist Mandy Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.