I know it seems strange, but there are a few things that one shouldn’t do in public. I’m not talking, like, wedgy picking. We all have those shake-the-leg-and-try-not-to-be-obvious moments, it happens. We all know what’s going on there, we all sympathize. I’m talking the really unfortunate things, the things that make an entire room feel awkward and have complete strangers sharing eye-locking moments of “can you fucking believe what is going on right now?”. And the thing is – there are some people who don’t know about the things they shouldn’t be doing in public. They are lost souls, making it weird for the rest of us, and I’m here to help.

Here is a clue: Don’t schedule a doctor’s appointment in an enclosed space that has to do with anything other than a check up.

I have a job that deals with the public. I have a lot of one on one time with strangers. And often these strangers bring their children, their coughing, snot-nosed, children. And for the most part I kind of love it as long as they aren’t touching me and oh god it coughed on my pen!! But in general I’m pleased to be dealing with parents and their babies. But then a few days ago, I was going about my business in my work trailor, and some applicants or clients or whatever the proper word for them is, were waiting for one of my co workers. And the woman, obviously misunderstanding this workspace for one of her very own, started in on her cell phone. She’s about 5 feet away from me so I can’t help but over hear.

I had a certain invested interest already since, when her child walked into the office he clutched at his mother, staring directly at me and said, “she’s not a nice lady, mama, she’s not a nice lady!!” and then began to whine in a panicked voice, “No no no! Don’t sit down! Why mommy, why are you doing that?!”. Because I am incapable of not listening to lady on cell phone with obnoxious child, I quickly become aware that she is calling to make a doctor’s appointment. For her squirly, panic-ridden son.

“Yes, as soon as possible,” I hear her say.
“So he’s had this rash for a few days now and it hasn’t gone away. Mmhm… well it’s all over his midsection and goes down onto his legs, and now it’s around his mouth.”

This is the part where I glance over my shoulder to see squirly little boy, licking furiously at the red ring around his lips. This is also where I begin to hold my breath in short bursts, hoping the measles or whatever the fuck this strange kid – who now i’m convinced is from one of those family’s who don’t vaccinate – has been infected with doesn’t go airborn.

“Well, I do have cortizone and benadryl and nothing seems to be working.”

This is where I stopped listening, or I may have pushed the memory so far into the dark parts of my brain, a hypnotist would be hard pressed to find it. Because ya know what? I don’t want to know! I don’t want to know what strange thing your kid is allergic to, or brushed up against, or has caught by some unfortunate contact with the other germy children at daycare. And that’s my point – keep it to yourself. You or someone you live with maybe peeing blood or be sprouting purple bumps all over their face – it doesn’t change the fact that you are sitting next to me sharing pens and shaking my hand, so if you can’t stay away from me, at least spare me the panic. I’ll Purel either way.

3 thoughts on “Etiquette”

  1. Perhaps you were exposed to fifth disease. It's very common in children ages 5-15 and is represented by rashes in the face and midsection, as the mother mentioned.

    PS: Has anyone ever told you that you kind of look like Patrick Swayze?

Leave a Reply