I was going to attempt a serious post, one that talked about world issues and the sadness of daily news. I was ready to stretch my brain matter and create a riveting social commentary that would go viral and I’d be congratulated for my enormous intelligence. It was going to be epic. But then a colleague sitting opposite me decided to shove his finger in his ear.
He wildly waggled (alliterative treat for you) his finger up and down, almost making squelching sounds, pulled it out and examined his findings. My Co-Op meal deal lunch swiftly threatened to make an appearance. All thoughts of intelligent commentary went out the heavily sealed, triple-glazed window and instead I will now lament about how people need to fix up, clean up and not expose the world to their daily ablutions.
This ear-cleaning colleague also suffers from the disease of loud chewing. So loud that I have frequently had to get up and leave my desk whilst he finishes his morning boiled egg. Last week he purchased a pack of Soft Mints. I was traumatised by lip-smacking, open-mouthed chewing and general revulsion for the next three hours.
When he sneezes he turns his head towards the window and sprays his nasal contents liberally on the window. When he yawns/coughs/opens his mouth he does so with complete disregard for his horrific death breath.
These habits, this lack of regard for other people and their aversion to bodily functions (me, yes I’m a bad person) baffle me. This is not a socially awkward, unattractive or particularly unclean person. He is 6ft4ins, has a very beautiful smile and regularly wins people over with his charm. Always impeccably dressed, he is one of those men that decided he would be GQ-ready no matter what. He actually has rippling biceps. This is not an exaggeration. But then he sneezes in your face, spits bits of chicken at you and coughs without covering his mouth. Beauty? Beast? Just no no no.
Manners – especially those to do with personal hygiene and protecting others from your various fluids – are imperative. Where have they gone?
On the packed morning Tube when the person sitting next to you quite clearly forgot to brush their teeth and showers you in their scent, on the escalator when someone a few people ahead emits a silent but deadly, when you’re walking along the street and narrowly avoid stepping in someone’s phlegm. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD?
The searing London heat over the last week has obviously set the armpit sirens ablaze. People have forgotten how to apply deodorant and its importance to the rest of society. Or how if one wears a shirt on Monday when its 34C, wearing it again on Tuesday is tantamount to telling your workmates how much you hate them and want them to suffer.
These may seem like minor problems but how many times have you been offended by poor personal hygiene? How many times have you wrinkled up your nose when someone gets into the lift and reeks of old gym socks? I should start some sort of crusade. But just writing this has made me feel quite ill. Off to rigorously wash my hands and surreptitiously sniff my pits.