Charlie Hatton About This
About Me
Email Me

Bookmark
 FeedBurnerEmailTwitterFacebookAmazon
Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA



All Quotes
HomeAboutArchiveBestShopEmail

  |  

Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

What Would Miss Manners Say?

Today I made a follow-up visit to my doctor about my torn calf muscle.

Actually, to be precise, I went to the orthopaedics department in the same complex where my doctor practices. It was my first trip to this particular waiting room, and I must say, I wouldn’t mind if it were also my last.

First of all, there was the usual waiting room nonsense. The long and boring dawdling, the months-old magazines, the moldy and uncomfortable chairs. I can deal with these things. I know these things. My grad student apartment was these things. I’m cool with that.

But on this day, in this waiting room, something just a little different happened. Different, and unsettling. Let me explain.

In this particular waiting room, there are about a dozen chairs for patients to slouch in while queueing up to have their various creaky parts fondled, prodded, and realigned. And when I got there, there were only four or five people waiting. So, I took a seat in the middle of a line of four empty chairs near the door, being careful to leave that all-important ‘buffer chair’ from the portly, pornstached gentleman to my right. I picked up an issue of Sports Illustrated from 1983 or so — I hear there’s some kid at UNC named ‘Jordan’ or something who might be pretty good someday — and I settled in for the wait. So far, so good.

And that when she walked in. Of all the doctor’s offices in all the world, she had to walk into mine.

She was… a large woman. I’m not sure how much more delicately I can put it. She was a bit older — in her fifties, perhaps — tall and wide and breathing heavily from the exertion of making her way down the hall. I glanced up when she walked into the room, then went back to minding my business in the magazine. I barely gave her another thought, until she sat down next to me.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I didn’t mind sitting next to the lady. I’ll sit next to anyone, just about — I’m pretty certain there are many more people out there who wouldn’t want to sit next to me than the other way around. Especially once they’ve gotten to know me. No question.

But the thing is, she needlessly violated the sanctity of the ‘buffer chair’. There were other empty seats around, even a couple with empties on each side — there was absolutely no call for busting up my buffer, or anyone else’s. There’s a protocol to these things, dammit, and she just ignored it completely. You don’t invade someone’s personal space without a good reason, you don’t use the urinal between two guys without an exceptionally good reason, and you don’t occupy someone’s buffer seat, either. It wasn’t the very worst thing she could have done, but it wasn’t cool.

And besides, the very worst thing she could have done was coming next. Stick with me, here.

So, she sat down, and settled herself, then laid her purse on the floor, on the side opposite from me. By that time, I was already engrossed in my SI again, reading about how some Doubleday fellow had invented some new game or other. Baseball, I think it was called. Sounded complicated. The mag apologized for not having any pictures of it, but they hadn’t actually been invented when the issue came out. Anyway.

Here’s the bit where I need a bit of help with the question of etiquette. I’ll tell you what happened, and tell you what I did — then maybe somebody can tell me what I should have done. Or shouldn’t have done.

So, after just a few seconds in the chair, the lady’s purse fell over. Like I mentioned, it was on the other side of her feet from me, so I heard it, but didn’t actually see it. I might not have known exactly what the noise was, except that she immediately bent over, away from me, to straighten things up.

And farted. Loudly. Sort of… I’m not quite sure how to describe it… sort of moistly. Not so that you’d think she’d had an ‘accident’ or anything — I’m just saying that it wasn’t a petite little ‘pfffft‘. By no means. This was a firecracker of a fart.

And then, while she struggled with her purse, she did it again, with just a little less fanfare. The big bang, and then a pop-gun reply. And with that, it was over. She rose back to a sitting position, and went back to her wait.

Meanwhile, I continued staring at my magazine. And trying desperately not to inhale. I mean, it’s one thing to accidentally float an air biscuit in public — it happens; we’ve all been there. It’s embarrasing for all involved, and the less said, the better. No big deal.

But this time — this time, I was not only at point-blank range for a two-barrelled rear retort from this stranger sitting beside me, but both barrels had actually been pointed right at me when the firing started. And I’m a standup comic in my spare time, for chrissakes. If those aren’t ‘extenuating circumstances’, dammit, then I don’t know what is!

I’ve got to admit, though — I didn’t know what I could really do in that situation. Or what would be proper to do. Or even humane to do. A few things raced through my head, but they just got sillier and more outlandish, until I realized that I hadn’t actually taken a breath for thirty seconds or so.

Anyway, long story short, I didn’t do anything. I just kept reading my book, and trying not to inhale very deeply, and, a few minutes later, she was called into the doctor’s office to be checked out. And that was the end of it — we never exchanged words, or even a look. There was no ‘Oh dear, excuse me!‘ on her part, and no ‘Holy mother of methane, what the hell was that?!‘ on mine. We just pretended it never ever happened, and hoped — I think I can also speak for her on this one — that we’d never see each other again.

So, that’s what happened. No lie. I went in for a checkup, and got noisily farted on. I guess I should be thankful I wasn’t going in for surgery; who knows what would have happened? And while I’m not sure I did the right thing, exactly, I’m also pretty sure I didn’t do the worst thing I possibly could have. And I’m not sure this sort of thing is covered in ‘Roberts Rules of Order’, or anywhere else for that matter, so I was in a bit of a ‘gray area’, as interpersonal negotiations go.

I did all that I was capable of at the time, which was absolutely nothing at all. Not the best part of the story, I suppose, but that’s what really happened, so there you have it. So now you tell me, you Dear Abbys and Miss Manners types out there — what would you have done, exactly?

Permalink  |  9 Comments



9 Responses to “What Would Miss Manners Say?”

  1. Missy says:

    Well I’m no Miss Manners, but I would have done exactly what you did. Sit there and act as though nothing happened, although I doubt I could have kept a straight face. That is by far the funniest thing I’ve heard all day. You poor fellow.

  2. Chasmyn says:

    I hate to say it, but probably exactly what you did as well. Unless it was really rank. Then I think I would have gotten up and moved.

    So if you were there first, why was she seen before you?

  3. wlfldy says:

    *gasp!* Fan the SI elaborately of course! All the while making huge gestures, clutching your nostrils closed and bringing forth loud, acetous-like noises. Then saying something like, ‘Lady! If you’re gonna do that, ya should really keep a dog by your side.’

    But then, that’s just me…

  4. GrumpyBunny says:

    I would have moved. Gag.

    I get annoyed at movie theaters when people ignore the buffer zone. There’s like a million seats and you and your unruly child HAVE to sit behind me. All the while child is kicking my seat…

  5. BytchInNY says:

    First of all, I have a bad cough right now so reading this and laughing my ass off was a slightly painful experience – thank-you-very-much!

    Anyway, I say SCREW that. I dunno if it’s because I live in NYC and we’re all rude assholes or what but the second she sat in the buffer seat I would have moved. If for some reason I didn’t… I MOST CERATINLY would have moved after the farting incident and probably given a dirty look as well.

  6. Steph says:

    Ok, after exploding in laughter (because who could have helped it).. I would have politely removed myself from the office, as if I were trying to find a snack bar (maybe not after that) or a restroom.

  7. Dawn says:

    I agree. Taking the buffer seat was a major faux-pas on her part. I’d have casually gone to the reception desk to ask some inane question, then would have returned to a seat at a safe distance from Ms. Gaseous Windbag. But that’s just me…

  8. Lady says:

    I would have moved, you are a much better person than I am to have been able to sit through all of that.

  9. shelley says:

    Under the guise of looking for more info on that Doubleday guy, I’d have gotten up to peruse the office reading materials, returning to a different seat. Preferably, one with an intact buffer chair. I’d also have farted back, just because I can.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HomeAboutArchiveBestShopEmail © 2003-15 Charlie Hatton All Rights Reserved
Highlights
Me on Film 'n' Stage:
  Drinkstorm Studios


Me on Science (silly):
  Secondhand SCIENCE


Me on Science (real):
  Meta Science News


Me on ZuG (RIP):
  Zolton's FB Pranks
  Zolton Does Amazon


Favorite Posts:
30 Facts: Alton Brown
A Commute Dreary
A Hallmark Moment
Blue's Clues Explained
Eight Your 5-Hole?
El Classo de Espanol
Good News for Goofballs
Grammar, Charlie-Style
Grammar, Revisitated
How I Feel About Hippos
How I Feel About Pinatas
How I Feel About Pirates
Life Is Like...
Life Is Also Like...
Smartass 101
Twelve Simple Rules
Unreal Reality Shows
V-Day for Dummies
Wheel of Misfortune
Zolton, Interview Demon

Me, Elsewhere

Features
Standup Comedy Clips

Selected Clips:
  09/10/05: Com. Studio
  04/30/05: Goodfellaz
  04/09/05: Com. Studio
  01/28/05: Com. Studio
  12/11/04: Emerald Isle
  09/06/04: Connection

Boston Comedy Clubs

 My 100 Things Posts

Selected Things:
  #6: My Stitches
  #7: My Name
  #11: My Spelling Bee
  #35: My Spring Break
  #36: My Skydives
  #53: My Memory
  #55: My Quote
  #78: My Pencil
  #91: My Family
  #100: My Poor Knee

More Features:

List of Lists
33 Faces of Me
Cliche-O-Matic
Punchline Fever
Simpsons Quotes
Quantum Terminology

Favorites
Banterist
...Bleeding Obvious
By Ken Levine
Defective Yeti
DeJENNerate
Divorced Dad of Two
Gallivanting Monkey
Junk Drawer
Life... Weirder
Little. Red. Boat.
Mighty Geek
Mitchieville
PCPPP
Scaryduck
Scott's Tip of the Day
Something Authorly
TGNP
Unlikely Explanations

Archives
Full Archive

Category Archives:

(Stupid) Computers
100Things
A Doofus Is Me
Articles 'n' Zines
Audience Participation
Awkward Conversations
Bits About Blogging
Bitter Old Man Rants
Blasts from My Past
Cars 'n' Drivers
Dog Drivel
Eek!Cards
Foodstuff Fluff
Fun with Words!
Googlicious!
Grooming Gaffes
Just Life
Loopy Lists
Making Fun of Jerks
Marketing Weenies
Married and a Moron
Miscellaneous Nonsense
Potty Talk / Yes, I'm a Pig
Sleep, and Lack Thereof
Standup
Tales from the Stage
Tasty Beverages
The Happy Homeowner
TV & Movies & Games, O My!
Uncategorized
Vacations 'n' Holidays
Weird for the Sake of Weird
Whither the Weather
Wicked Pissah Bahstan
Wide World o' Sports
Work, Work, Work
Zug

Heroes
Alas Smith and Jones
Berkeley Breathed
Bill Hicks
Dave Barry
Dexter's Laboratory
Douglas Adams
Evening at the Improv
Fawlty Towers
George Alec Effinger
Grover
Jake Johannsen
Married... With Children
Monty Python
Nick Bakay
Peter King
Ren and Stimpy
Rob Neyer
Sluggy Freelance
The Simpsons
The State

Plugs, Shameless
100 Best Humor Blogs | Healthy Moms Magazine

Alltop, confirmation that I kick ass

TopOfBlogs

HumorSource

Blogging Fusion Blog Directory

bloglovin

Top Blogs

 

Feeds and More
Subscribe via FeedBurner

[Subscribe]

RDF
RSS 2.0
Atom
Credits
Site Hosting:
Solid Solutions

Powered by:
MovableType

Title Banner Photo:
Shirley Harshenin

Creative Commons License
  This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons License

Mint Installation

Performancing Metrics

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

Valid XHTML 1.0

Valid CSS!

© 2003-15 Charlie Hatton
All Rights Reserved