Thursday, March 4, 2010

Rebuilding in the Off Season

I'm going to be optimistic for a moment and say that cold and flu season is over for the 09-10 winter. To help make the 10-11 season a healthy one, permit me to suggest that you use this time to work on your skills. Namely, cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough. Thank god we don't live in a time of cholera epidemic or we'd all be dead, given the number of people who hack away in crowded areas without covering up. Now, I know my mom was a stickler for proper manners, but she cannot possibly have been the only one.

Similarly, have you (and obviously I speak to my fellow commuters) noticed that I am the only person who says, "bless you" when someone sneezes? I don't understand why you, person who is sitting next to person who sneezed, doesn't. While we're at it, have you further noticed that I am the only person who says hello to the conductor? He said hello to you, not saying hello back is, well, rude. Even if he is socially beneath you, throw him the greeting crumbs from your table.

I don't want to project a false reality: I am certainly rude to people. But I am rude to people specific, not people general. Chances are if I was rude to you, I had a reason. I guess I should say that when rude I am intentionally rude. To be rude as just habit speaks to a far more sinister condition, and one I suspect has consequences far beyond my daily indignation.

And before I start sounding like Mother Theresa over here, in addition to not being a 24/7 polite person, I also don't much care about other people. Not that I wish them harm or have no concern for their well-being, but on a day to day basis, if I don't know you, I don't care about you. So blessing your sneezing isn't borne from some hippie-ass loving everyone nonsense. I just think that it takes more effort to ignore your sneeze than to acknowledge it.

I mean isn't it habit to say bless you when someone sneezes? To let the old lady have the seat? To wait your turn in line? These seem like societal baselines and to act otherwise takes effort. Because ALL of our mothers taught us these things. Willfully disregarding them is a willful act.

And yet you do it. Every day. Day after day. And I don't know where you learned it.

So take these, the gentler weather months, to consider how we came to be at this impasse, and see if you can't make a mental off-season trade so that when we get to this point next year, your team can be in contention for the playoffs.


  1. Why should I ask God to bless somebody that sneezed? Putting aside the existence of $DEITY, it's not like the sneezer's soul is escaping through their mouths, necessitating a blessing from above.

  2. Fair point, Jim. You well know my thoughts on the TurboSkyDaddy TM, so we would also have accepted 'gesundheit' which has no pesky youknowwhovertones and merely wishes the sneezer good health; the only side effect is that you sound either a) german or b) like one's (presumably) german grandparents.
    It was more the confusion over not saying anything to the person who sneezed, soul intact, right next to you.