Hawking up phlegm, for Chinese people, is as natural and regularly occuring as breathing, it would seem. I’m sure I read somewhere that it’s believed to be necessary here for good health. All I can think when I hear it is – if I had that much phlegm on the regular, I’d be going to the doctor for a checkup. Or at least take some Vitamin C…How is it possible that you have THAT MUCH stuff in your throat that needs clearing in such a violent and frequent manner?
Regardless, it’s happening and I am becoming somewhat immune to the grossness. And there has been some grossness. Once when I had arrived at the airport in Hangzhou and walked inside the main entrance, actually inside the building, my hand happened to brush my skirt over my crotchal region and I felt – SPIT. I looked down and there it was.
Someone had spit.
And it was on me.
I will never know exactly how it happened. At first I was filled with rage at the thought that someone would have intentionally spat on me. Then I told myself that that was crazy – it was an unfortunate crossing of paths. Which is not impossible. For my sanitys sake, I must believe that this is the correct explanation. There had been a group of guys just outside the door smoking (and spitting, of course. For future reference, spitting will just go without saying).
Once I dropped my sweater on the ground at work and when I picked it up, there was a wad of phlegm on it, from the ground.
Last week I was walking through the machine room at work when I heard a guy behind me hawk, and what sounded like spit. I told myself he MUST have used a tissue or some other mode of containment to capture the loogie. I didn’t turn around to check.
But a couple of days ago I was at the airport lining up to go through security when I heard it again. And this time there was no mistaking. This guy spat on the floor in the middde of the security line at the airport.
I pretty much give up at this point. I thought I could deal, but I know now that I probably can’t. I’m giving myself 12 months. We are 4 and counting now. Tick, tick, tick…