Another Example of How Overheard in New York Mirrors Real Life

January 17, 2009

Here's another overheard that Shelly recently sent. Her email included the note, "- - THIS IS SO ME -- -and Megan - - and Shannon - - and Shelley - but not Ben. He would definitely endorse this behavior."

The Five-Second Rule Does Not Apply to Buses Disgusted mother to little girl who picked up a Swedish fish she dropped on the bus floor: Don't eat that. Little girl, dusting it off: It's okay, I'll kiss it up to god. Mother: Don't you dare put that in your mouth. You have no idea what was on the floor. Little girl, putting it in her mouth and chewing it: It's okay! I kissed it up to god! (swallows it) What are you going to do about it? Mother, angrily: I'm not going to do anything. You're just going to die.

I'm so amused and have so much to say about the five second rule, that I don't even know where to begin. But yes, of course I endorse that behavior.

I guess I'll start with this "kissing it up to god." I'm not aware of this means of sterilization, but it sounds like, well... a godsend. Can someone share the ritual with me? It seems like something I should know.

When I was a kid, and we would visit our cousins, they would drop off the whole pack of a dozen or so of us at the movies. This was back when movie theater floors were full of trash and sticky with spilled coke all of the time. On one trip, my cousin Michael purposefully tripped a stranger, causing him to spill his popcorn. Michael was willing to eat the spilled popcorn off the floor, allowing him to pocket his own popcorn money. I didn't go as far as to eat the popcorn off the nasty floor, but don't think that I wasn't filled with admiration. Because I certainly was.

The day after I got this post from Shelly, I was in an all-day meeting. At 11:30, we were released for lunch, but asked to reassemble at noon. That made the only option the cafeteria on the first floor of our building. I'm about as sick of their food as it's possible to be, but I headed down hoping that they had fish sandwiches that day.

Their fish sandwiches are pretty good, a little like McDonald's fillet of fish. The fish has a very light batter, and the inside has a soft, almost buttery texture. The bun is pretty good too. Sometimes they have chicken instead, which is okay, but not nearly as good as the fish.

I don't know if you can really tell how nasty the arm of this chair is. It should be salmon-colored, but it's gray, with a salmon tint. I split most of my work time between a dirty office and a clean one, and this is my chair in the dirty office.

Well, they did have my fish on Tuesday. I picked up my sandwich, got a side of black-eyed peas (their selections in the soul-food food group is decent, if you add some salt and season it up a little bit), loaded my sandwich with tomato, pickles, and condiments, and went back up to my desk. I hadn't checked news or sports headlines yet, and I had 15 minutes to eat and scan them simultaneously.

I was eating, web surfing, and talking to the guy across the aisle when a significant chunk of my fish jumped out of the sandwich and fell on the floor. My first reaction was to cry, but I took a couple of deep breaths, and I was able to choke back the tears. Since the guy I was talking to could see me, I picked it up off the floor, and put it to the side, as if I was going to wad it up and throw it out with my wrapper.

But you see where this is going.

I cut the conversation short, and finished my sandwich. One more look to make sure no one was watching me, and the fish from the floor was in my mouth and down my gullet. Mmmmmmmmmmm. Then I quickly wadded up the wrapper where the fish had been sitting, no one the wiser that the wrapper was now empty.

This really isn't that gross. This happened in a state building that is very new and at least seems very clean. Yes, the fish was under the desk. And come to think of it, I had a smidge of dog poop on my shoe one day this week. I can't remember if it was the same day or not. And it's true that the prisoners who clean the building only vacuum once every couple of weeks (I guess because they're here in the middle of the day, and the vacuum cleaner would be annoying if they ran it all of the time). But still, it seems very clean.

The other office where I regularly work is far from clean. Everything there is gross. Like late-70s movie theater floor gross. My chair is gross, as you can see. And I don't even like the soles of my shoes to walk on that nasty floor. I think the floor is probably about as gross as the floor of a New York City bus. I really need to learn this "kissing it up to god" ritual.