20 January 2007

Spitting mad

I don't think I've ever been so wholly disgusted in a long, long time.

Spitting is something that I generally think should be a social faux pas. No one needs to walk by gobs of someone else's mucous. Even worse, watching someone in the act of expectorating. It's vile. It's illegal in some countries. Singapore is one of those countries.

The reasoning behind such a law is hygiene. Mucous is a major factor in the spread of germs. If you were to cough or sneeze into the air without covering your mouth, the germs would dissipate relatively quickly because they need a moist environment to survive. If you spit on the sidewalk, the germs would live longer because they would have a cozy pool of phlegm to play in for quite a while. I read something about how long germs can survive in spit, and I think it's up to 3 days.

Imagine if you dropped your keys on the sidewalk, right in someone's slowly evaporating gob of spit. Now the spitter's germ are all over your keys. And I bet you touched your eyes, nose, or mouth without even thinking about it!

During the SARS scare a few years ago, China instituted a spitting ban. Hong Kong increased their fines. If you put "SARS" and "spitting" into a Google search, you come up with almost 61,000 articles. They took it seriously.

I'm not suggesting that we become paranoid about it. But there's something wrong with spitting in public. Very, very wrong.

This afternoon Andrew and I were at the mall. He bought a watch and then we went to visit Jenni at the store where she works part-time. As we rounded the corner of the corridor, a man walking in the opposite direction turned his head and spat. Indoors. On the floor. Of the mall. Indoors. With people. Everywhere. Indoors. Not very far from the coffee shop kiosk. And he was indoors!

And he kept walking!

I stopped. My mouth dropped open. My lip curled. My nose wrinkled. I was just about ready to puke (which would have been worse). Andrew saw it too. We remarked on the grossness of it. I momentarily considered turning around and berating this man for his poor manners and lack of hygiene. Andrew was still walking forward, so I followed. The look of disgust stayed on my face for quite a while.

1 comment:

Me said...

That's gross. I've seen students spit inside at school and I gave them hell for it, possibly even a detention.