diamond geezer

 Monday, February 23, 2009

Did I miss this particular press release somewhere?
Britons are to be encouraged to spit in the street, under new legislation launched today. Health Minister Nigel Gobbet announced the move at the launch of a £4m community campaign. The cohesive benefits of spitting are well-proven, he said. We must celebrate diversity, and practitioners of the noble art must no longer be stigmatised.
OK, probably not. But there was a heck of a lot of spitting going on during my weekend.

» A waddling boy in a McKenzie hoodie outside Tesco in Bromley-by-Bow. Ambling along, looking as innocent as the day is long, then casually "kersplat" against the wall.
» The pavement beside the busy market in the Whitechapel Road. The entire stretch thronging with people, but also dappled with pools of bubbling spittle.
» Three teenagers sitting in a Stepney bus shelter. Jabbering away ten to the dozen and then, at approximately sixty second intervals, firing bullets of phlegm into the passing traffic.

And all this as though spitting were the most innocent act on the planet. Gathering up a mouthful of saliva, swirling it around with the tongue and then ejecting it forcibly into public areas. It's not normal, is it? Please tell me this animal behaviour is not yet acceptable.

Why does this spittle ever reach the pavement? What's wrong with covering your mouth? What's wrong with spitting into a handkerchief? Why must these bodily fluids end up on public surfaces which the rest of us have to step on?

More to the point, why the need to spit so regularly in the first place. I manage to go about my daily business without ever feeling the need to evacuate my mouth into mid-air. Why can't others practise similar restraint?

I understand that certain people might be spitting for cultural reasons, or because they do it elsewhere. And I suspect that certain younger folk are spitting for effect, or to mimic the behaviour of certain thoughtless role models. But none of this makes spitting any more pleasant to watch, or to experience.

We shouldn't have to live in fear of mid-air missiles, nor of wiping sputum off our clothes if we accidentally intersect their trajectory. The amount of dog mess on London's pavements is quite enough thanks, without worrying that we might end up treading in human secretion too.

I don't want to rattle on about manners or to demand that spitting in the street be made illegal, because that'd make me sound like a grumpy Mail reader. But I do want to express grave discomfort that such patently unhealthy behaviour appears to be increasingly commonplace and acceptable in modern society.

There's a lot of spit about. Please, mind your gob.

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