Why is it I can't go out without being exposed to a constant barrage of infectious diseases?
No matter where I go, I'm surrounded by people snuffling, hacking, spitting, wheezing, sniffling and sneezing. Usually on me.
That's a major reason I avoid public transportation during peak hour traffic. Thank God we haven't had an outbreak of Ebola or Bubonic plague; we'd all be dead in three days.
The other day took the cake for pure grossness. I'd joined a long queue at the bank. As I waited, a man got into line behind me; a weird little man.
The moment he arrived he began talking to himself. He muttered and complained about the length of the queue. After a few minutes, he began leaning around me to look, first to one side, then the other, as though it would speed up the queue. I grew uncomfortable with his invasion of my personal space.
After a couple minutes of fidgeting, he quieted down. The queue began moving, but I could see the wait would be at least 10 minutes. The delay didn't bother me.
What bothered me was Mr. Creepy standing too close. Each time the line shuffled forward, he bumped into me. He kept brushing into my arms, my back, even my butt. I tried to move farther forward, but each time, in his impatience, he'd fill the gap.
I stood sideways and crossed my arms, hoping he'd get a clearer view and then back off. It didn't help much.
To make matters worse, he was sick.
He was coughing and hacking, and I know he didn't cover his mouth, because I felt my t-shirt ripple from the force of his cough. It was aggravating; every five seconds he made a loud snorting noise out of his nose into his hand. Then he hauled out a tissue and tried to blow his nose.
Perversely, I was glad to be in the queue, rather than be the poor teller who'd have to handle whatever he'd touched.
Until my turn for service came, I had to endure the walking bug factory spray his germs all over me. I even felt droplets land on my arm; it was disgusting. Although I had other errands to run, I was desperate to run home and take a hot shower or get hosed down with disinfectant.
Several times I glanced at him, hoping he'd take the hint and back off, but he was a real piece of work. I caught him picking his nose.
The weirdo had the worst comb-over in recorded history. He was bald but for some hair at the back and on the sides.
The attempt to cover his scalp was pathetic. He'd grown his hair long in the back, then combed it upward from the base of his neck at the hairline, forward to the midway position atop his skull.
I've never seen a part on someone's neck. The hair on the sides was equally long, and had been flipped up and rolled together with the hair from the back of his head, to keep it from falling down. The ridge it formed stuck up at least an inch, making the front of his head appear balder.
While I marveled at the tacky engineering effort, my turn for service came. I bolted to get as far away from Typhoid Mah as I could. I prayed he wouldn't be called to the window next to mine.
I'm glad I take vitamins. If I didn't, I'm sure I'd become sick more often. It's not bad enough the air is foul, I have to put up with this?
And people wonder why I spend so much time at home.
May 5, 2000
Next Tale: The Days Are Just Packed