Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Spittin' Image

Don't spit on the floor.
Use the cuspidor,
Waddya think it's for?"

Why do people have to spit in the street? In front of ME. It can't be to impress me because it makes me seriously nauseous. I have gone my entire life without feeling even the slightest compulsion to expectorate unless I'm brushing my teeth or have just unknowingly quaffed hemlock, so I don't understand why anyone needs to do this. Even those who are not tobacco chewers. Which is another utterly disgusting performance art which we'll deal with some other time.

I lived in the South for many years and assumed it was just another charming redneck thang, er THING. But San Francisco clearly qualifies as an unprovincial kind of place. You would think its inhabitants would show a certain finesse, but no. They run around in droves hawking up lungs to prove how cool and manly they are.

If I had a dollar for every time I've thought, "Ewww. I'm sorry I saw that," I could finance a squad of sidewalk police, Spit Cops, to monitor such proclivities. We badly need them.

Wearing sandals makes me nervous that somebody's lurking glob of spittle will slither into my exposed feet. I don't want your nasty germs. Please. Keep your sputum to yourselves. Don't make me hate you. It's the least you can do.


urban-urchin said...

Oh I so remember being totally skivved out by the spitters. But my twisted mind took it one step further and I imagined all the antibiotic resistant TB germs floating my way that when someone spat I would hold my breath until I was a safe distance away.

I know, I need help.

katrice said...

I have often said that if I were president, it would be illegal and punishable by imprisonment and public flogging to spit publicly. This is one of the grossest things ever in the history of mankind.

Urchin, I am with you too. I also hold my breath whenever anyone within earshot sneezes. And if they -- God help me -- sneeze in the car with me, I must let all the windows down and back up again.

I, too, need help.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

urchin, if you ever find that help, will you let me know so I can get some, too? I've had pneumonia several times, although not for many years, so I'm probably overly obsessed with not catching things. Someone deep-gut coughing near me WILL cause me to relocate in a hurry. (Maybe that's why I haven't had it recently.)

Katrice, It's about time we had a president who did something useful. You've got MY vote for sure. Interestingly (perhaps,) family members with transmissible ailments do not cause the flight-or flight mechanism in me to activate.

But street-spitting is just plain nasty and unforgivable even without the germ factor. Yukkkk.

Jennifer said...

Amen. And while you're at it, if you could find a way to teach my son not to hock one on my deck when the mood strikes him, I'd be MOST appreciative.

jali said...

I HATE spitters! I don't understand the need - and I see it all the time. Ewwwww!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I don't know, Jennifer... give him a spitoon? Not a nice one, though. More like a beer can with the lid removed.

If he's old enough to care about such things, tell him it's a real turnoff to girls. (At least I HOPE it is.)

Jali, I'm right there with ew.

katrice said...

Flog him.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Yeah. What she said. I wish I'd thought of it.

And Jennifer, I have to ask. How did things get to this pass?

Odat said...

Nice blog...just stopping by from boondoggled....and I am so grossed out by "spitters" too...ewww..

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Odat, Thanks for stopping by. I've been enjoying your blog since I discovered it a few days ago. Great stories!

curmudgeon said...

Ah, come on now. Us guys learn at a young age to hold competitions, set records and generally be gross.
But at least I personally never do it in public. Or at least where it could get tracked around by an unwary ped.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by my blog! Hope you were a little entertained. :)

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Yes, I'm enjoying your blog. But at the first sign of bodily fluids on the sidewalk, I'm outa there. Just so you know.

Lex said...

I have to admit that the street spitting doesn't really bother me all that much. I don't participate in this boyish pastime (although I am a champion belcher), but what really makes me want to hurl are sputum cougher-uppers who spit that stuff into a crumpled tissue in their hand.

Listen, if your lungs are so congested that you have to carry a recepticle in your hand all day to expectorate, STAY HOME!!! You're sick you disgusting beast.

And, it's not a germ thing for me. Mucus activates my gag reflex.

heartinsanfrancisco said...




And yes.

Christina_the_wench said...

Spitting in public... right up there with puking in your hair and wiping your boogers on the seat. Who teaches this to men? Must be a male hereditary thing as I have NEVER seen a woman do this. Never.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Christina, I don't think I have either.

I consider myself lucky to have a husband and son who would never do these things, even if I weren't looking. So we can rule out chromosomes as an explanation.

To be very fair, we women have some bad habits of our own... but I can't think of a single one at the moment. :<)

Kevin Charnas said...

I couldn't agree more. I just thought of it the other day again, when someone does it, I just glare and think, "I can't believe that you felt comfortable enough to SPIT in front of me"???

When I was in Nepal, there would be these BEAUTIFUL women and then they cover a nostril and blow snot out of the other one onto the ground. They could kill a fly if they wanted to, I'm sure of it. But somehow, there, because they're so poor, it's more understandable...and even though it still made me sick, I understood a little more then here... Here it's just plain disgusting and more, it's disgraceful.

djn said...

I always feel a slight bit of satisfaction when I see someone spit out their car window but it gets all over their car. Still gross, but strangely statisfying.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Kevin, I truly don't want anyone to feel that comfortable around me, but chances are, they're not even aware of me or other innocent bystanders as their eyes turn inward.

Ah, yes, all the many Kleenexless parts of the world. I've witnessed that nostril thing, too, and it's always fairly shocking.

djn, YES!!!! You know they care more about their cars than they do about Other Peoples' sensibilities. But wouldn't you think something might register when they're cleaning it off later?

katrice said...

That nose thing, I've seen it twice. The shock and horror were indescribable. I had a very visible, very public fit.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Shock and horror. Yep. I try to make allowances for cultural differences, but that one brings me dangerously close to losing my lunch.

Jennifer said...

Oops. Sorry. Wasn't ducking the question.

He's an 18 year-old moron? Is that enough explanation for you? What else can I say. He sure as hell didn't learn it from me!

From time to time, he'll lean over the rail. So there's that. At least until I cave to the urge to shove him over.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Houston, we have a problem. So, Jennifer, how many stories up is your deck?