The Etiquette of Spitting on Friends
Everyone knows I’m capable of discussions about anything. Why should today be any different? Today’s subject, boys and girls, is spit. Yes, spit.
More to the point, spitting on friends – accidentally, of course.
I, and my three teenaged (well, they were teenagers at the time of this conversation) daughters, got into a lengthy discussion regarding the aforementioned subject during a road trip after my oldest, Amber, mentioned that she had a conversation with someone recently who had taken to frequently spitting while talking.
Warming up to this eloquent subject, Whitney, chimed in, “Oh, I hate that! And, you don’t want to say anything and hurt their feelings!”
“Right,” Amber said. “So, you just sit there with this spit on your face, being too polite to wipe it off or say anything.”
“I know,” Whitney agreed. “Oh, the worst thing is if the spit lands on your lip.”
At this point in the conversation, all the kids (including my youngest, Jordan) launched into a chorus of “eeeewwwww’s” and “yuck’s,” sprinkled between hysterical laughing fits.
Finally, Samantha joined in. “Yes, I know what you mean. The spit just sits on there on your lip burning like acid. You just know there are germs there eating your lips off.” (More giggles ensued.)
I also had an observation to make toward the discussion. I’ve noticed the people that I’m talking to usually try to be polite, also, whenever I, in a moment of frenzied babbling, manage to accidentally throw a tiny spit bubble in their direction.
Everyone has had this happen ¼ come on, admit it. I’m sitting at a table across from a friend. I’m getting into an enthusiastic discussion and suddenly ¼ it happens. The tiny spit bubble is flung and time seems to suddenly switch to slow motion – like in the movies, only without the cool background music.
I watch in horror (but continue talking because I’m now trying to distract the other person from seeing the spit ball being hurled in their direction) as I see it flying across the table ¼ the spit jiggles as it flies and it catches the light, looking kind of sparkly and pretty in a twisted sort of way. I see it, but quickly avert my eyes – hoping my friend won’t see what I was looking at.
I look across the table just in time to see the person I was talking to also saw it, but they have politely averted their eyes.
We continue talking — both in denial, pretending there’s not a spit droplet glimmering on the table between us. I keep looking at it out of the corner of my eye, wondering if there’s a way I can nonchalantly wipe it away. If I wipe it away ¼ it didn’t happen. Whew! I think to myself. At least it didn’t land on their lip!
Samantha announced that she had a friend who, with eerie consistency, always manages to throw a spit bubble onto her lip or eyelid. (Obviously, more “eeeewwwwww’s” followed this announcement.)
Whitney’s got a friend who she claims is bold enough – gasp — to tell you when you’ve spit. She said usually after he announces this – the unfortunate spitter’s self-esteem-o-meter drops several points due to this shocking breach of spit protocol.
Finally, there’s the hovering spit. Whitney related the tale of a teacher who she said often would accumulate a spit ball on his lower lip. She said it was difficult to get anything out of class on those days because she could not stop staring ¼ staring at the spit ball that was perched like a tiny pearl on this teacher’s bottom lip.
She would wipe her own mouth compulsively, hoping the teacher would see her movement and do the same. She said this spit ball was way too distracting. The thing that really pushed her toward the edge of her sanity was when his top lip met his bottom lip and the spit ball would then stick to both lips and stretch like mozzarella cheese.
(At this point in the lengthy discussion, we’d all decided we were not hungry for any supper.)
All in all, we decided that perhaps some sort of spit etiquette needed to be taught for these distracting occasions. I’m all for denial. I’ll ignore friends accidentally spitting on me if they’ll extend the same courtesy.
This concludes our subject for today. Thanks for the kind attention. Go back to work and try not to spit on anyone.
(L.A. Story is a fiction writer *buy a book* and poet. She is a resident of Glen where one can spit really, really far before hitting anyone. She knows this because she’s tried. *You are feeling a strong urge to buy a copy of The Gifted now* Her blog is normally spit free and appears on Wednesdays. She claims never to have used *buy* subliminal advertising *a book* in her weekly *now, by clicking on the link at the bottom of the page* blog. Today’s blog originally appeared as a column in the Daily Corinthian in early November, 2005.)