Thursday, December 06, 2007

Snot Control

Have you noticed how cold weather makes your nose run?

Apparently, some people have not. Their noses run. They just don't notice.

These are not your stereotypical snuffling droolers. These are otherwise ordinary, nice folks who seem oblivious to the clear streams flowing down their upper lip. Or, even worse, they notice it and head it off with a wiping hand. Soon they are glistening with mucus halfway to the elbow.

Outdoors, these fountains of nasal moisture are merely mildly nauseating. I would rather have someone snork and clam than see their silent stream and their haphazard efforts to mop it away, but what can I do? I suppose it's better for it to coat them than to have them clam it onto me as I go by.

Indoors the game becomes more serious. The dripper seems to want to transfer a fresh coat of sinus varnish to everyone and everything in their path. Those of us who don't care to wear someone else's exudate try to avoid them without embarrassing them.

For some reason, your committed, habitual snot dripper seems to be in complete denial. I have handed some of them tissues and handkerchiefs, only to have them look at me in befuddlement and set them aside, or smile thinly as if I had made a joke they totally didn't get. Seconds later they might slide their slimy hand across their nostrils one more time, before picking up a tool from the workbench or handing me money.

This almost ritualized Snot Dance goes on all winter with a variety of partners, some regulars, some passing strangers in the dance hall. The object for the Slimers is to make contact. The object for the Drys is to avoid it.

Choose your side. I'll see you on the floor, whether I want to or not.

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