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Matters of etiquette

Diamondgeezer’s post on spitting didn’t really register when I first read it, but yesterday I was on the receiving end of the subject at hand, and I was reminded. Now, I’ve been cycling home of late, and on my way back last evening, I was minding my own business wending my way speedily over the heights of Highbury. I’d been through the village and was about to descend Blackstock Road when a youth emerged from a shop doorway, casually looked around at me and, almost in slow motion, launched a flob at me. 

It didn’t hit me (it may have hit the bike, I don’t know). I was a bit bemused by the whole experience, and didn’t react, but it occurred to me after: this isn’t normal behaviour, surely? DG suggests that there’s all sorts of role models to blame (footballers for instance) and that in some circumstances it might be a cultural phenomenon. But as far as I know, outside of a particularly dedicated subgenre of punk subculture, spitting on someone has never been a nice thing to do.

In fact, if I was a more dramatic Romance type, I’d have squared up to the lank youth. I’m not talking a menacing hooded type of the sort I see hanging around the corners of the avenues in Noel Park (these never spit on me…), just a skinny kid with longish blond hair. If I’d have thought, I’d have backhand slapped him with my fingerless mitt and challenged him to a duel at dawn. Else, there’d be some sort of chest-first pouting and finger-pointing. 

I suppose this is one of those ‘what’s the world come to?’ kind of posts. What kind of world is it where it’s considered not extraordinary to launch a gobful of phlegm at a passerby? What’s next? Snot rockets from the bus window? Maliciously aimed toenail clippings aimed at unwitting pedestrians? You never get this on the ‘mean street’s of Tottenham or Wood Green, you know…


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