Thursday, August 14, 2008
Two teenagers board the bus and sit in the two-seater bench next to me. Like a gnarly twitch, the kid nearest me slaps his hand to the side of one nose nostril and begins rubbing it frantically. He is literally snorting and rubbing so hard, it looks painful! I don't have allergies, so I can't relate to the problem it might be for him, but I am pretty grossed out at this point. He continues to rub hard for a few minutes, just long enough for me to wonder if his problem is something other than an unfortunate circumstance of nature. As I begin to slow my breathing, like I normally do during stinky or germy rides, I think back to another time an oxygen mask may have come in handy. Some months ago, in the dead of winter when the weather is far too nippy to open a window (ugh) and the heat is going full blast and the smell of foul is raging, a sweet little, old lady nearly caused me to suffocate. She sat directly behind me--and started coughing. But not just any cough. A persistent cough, a chesty cough that sounded a gurgle of phlegm with every hack. Her hacks went uncovered for about 10 minutes and they were so powerful, my hair actually moved with the air she expelled from her body! What should I do? Move? And make it obvious this sickly, old lady is the reason I flee? YES! I choose LIFE! I'm turning blue from asphyxiation at this point--and I'm irritated she doesn't cover her mouth. I've got about five minutes left on the bus and I'm starting to gag a little bit. I hit the empty seat two benches behind her. I nuzzle my nose into my high-collared down coat and resume a slow draw of air into my lungs as I dream about bathing in a tub of Purell.
Posted by Missy at 4:27 PM