Sunday, June 3, 2007

Bleach, Scrub, Rinse, Repeat

Tonight I went to the movies with my mother and Malystryx. It was a smaller theater and we were surrounded on both sides by strangers and their even stranger offspring.

Lucky me, I sat in the middle thus ensuring that I did not share foot space or an arm rest with a total stranger.

Malystryx was not so lucky.

He was sitting next to a family of four who chose to place their youngest next to him.

Good times.

First, it was the ice cheweing, a particular pet peeve of Malystryx's. (And who can blame him? The sound approaches the level of fingernails-on-a-chalk-board annoying, especially when it interrupts the fabulous Captain Jack Sparrow.)

Then, it was the straw-chewing.

Straw-chewing by itself is not so great a crime. The occasional wet gnawing sound can be distracting, sure, but overall, it's no big deal.

It's the spit-flinging as the straw leaves the mouth that causes the problem.

The child sitting next to Malystryx had a particularly wide radius of spit-fling. First it hit Malystryx's arm. He leaned over and asked me for my anti-bacterial hand sanitizer (never leave home without it) and scrubbed his arm.

The next spit-fling landed square in his face.

No amount of water-free anti-bacterial hand sanitizer can cope with that. A face full of someone else's saliva requires nothing less than bleach, steel wool, and scalding hot water.

I'm sure, even as I type this, Malystryx is busy scrubbing.

Malystryx should be grateful. It could have been much, much worse.

When my hubby and I were in college, we worked several jobs to pay our way. My hubby's main job was managing the local Ben and Jerry's ice cream parlor (you have to love a man who smells like a waffle cone). He had several regular customers and one regular non-customer.


Anthony was a homeless man who liked to come into the store and talk to my hubby. Because my hubby is kind and tolerant, he listened. Listening to Anthony required kindness and tolerance because a)for obvious reasons, Anthony lacked any semblance of personal hygiene and b)Anthony had absolutely no concept of respecting someone's personal space.

One night, two friends and I stopped in at Ben and Jerry's to check in on my hubby and score some free Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Anthony was there. My hubby served our ice cream and decided to take a break and join us at our booth while we ate.

I slid in next to one window, facing my two friends, and my hubby sat next to me. Anthony followed us to our table, talking all the while. Just as we settled into the booth and grabbed our first bite of ice cream, it happened.

Anthony opened his mouth to speak, made some sort of strangled half-cough, half-sneeze sound, and let fly with the largest amount of spit and mucus I've ever seen.

All of it, the whole nasty mouthful, splattered against the side of my hubby's face.

Anthony kept talking like nothing had happened.

My hubby sat there like a stone, snotty spit slowly sliding down his face, refusing to react and thus shame Anthony.

I have either less concern for others or less control over my reactions. I bent over double, laughing until I cried.

Anthony asked what was wrong with me.

My hubby slid his eyes toward me (in a look that promised certain retribution if I didn't get myself under control) and said two words through tightly clenched teeth.

"Napkins, please."

I gave him napkins. A whole wad of napkins. And kept right on laughing like a lunatic.

Later that evening, my hubby discovered that while it does kill germs, scrubbing one's face with Lysol and a Brillo pad has other consequences.

He decided it was worth it.

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