Coz One Bout of Public Humiliation Wasn’t Enuff

03 Jul

Have you ever found yourself in a crowd of people thoroughly annoyed by one single rotten apple who does her oblivious best to ruin the day for everybody around her… and realized that said wormfood was you?

Sigh. I swear I didn’t mean it.

So there I am, watching I Hate Luv Storys in a packed house and my body up and decides that this is an excellent time to get rid of the five tons of phlegm it has apparently been hoarding for days. Does it leak out of my nose like all well-mannered mucus ought to? NO!

My mucus believes in a dramatic entrance. It chooses to erupt from my body in a series of violent sneezes that went on – I kid you not! – for a solid half hour at three minute intervals. At first, I thought I could employ the discreet and possibly medically-frowned-upon tactic of all people struck by inconvenient sneezes: pinch my nose and whuffle it.

[Yes, I said “whuffle”. The next time you work up a sneeze, pinch your nose and force it to die inside your body instead of whistling out your nasal cavity. That sound you hear of capillaries bursting is called a whuffle. And if you want to prove me wrong, you come up with a term for it, smartass.]

I whuffled the first one and it hurt. My nose does not approve of whuffling. It believes in freedom of expression. I whuffled the second time with greater care and ended up with nosey on my fingers. Yech. I fished out a paper towel, which is what I use in lieu of handkerchiefs like all intelligent people who prefer to throw away any bits of material smeared with their bodily emissions rather than tucking it carefully back in their pocket to be laundered lovingly at home. When the next sneeze came hurtling out my nose, I caught it in the quilted, quadruple-strength confines of my paper towel.

HONK! said my nose. HONK! HONK!

Now, it’s true that I turn into a kindergartner when confronted by mucus but I was never the kind of kid who attempted an on-the-spot PhD on her goobers or ate them or anything bleurgh like that. But I too am a human being and there is nothing quite like clearing your blocked nasal passages of phlegm. Clear your throat, blow your nose, pick it clean – it’s like it massages some special nerve center in your brain and whispers, “There, there. It’s going to be all right now.” You breathe in, your lungs expand, nothing gargles inside your skull, you’re not swallowing gobs of matter with your spit – and whaddya know? It really is all right now! I perked up.

And that’s when the sneezing fit began. One sneeze, two sneeze, three sneeze, four. A sneeze there, a sneeze here, a sneeze-sneeze everywhere! Skeevy sneeze, steezy sneeze, snotty sneeze, snooty sneeze. Snooze a sneeze! Wheeze!

Sorry. Anyway…

My brain, being all jostled about, decided that this spasm couldn’t possibly last and what’s a few sneezes in a theater resounding with Bollywood cheer? Especially when muffled by my trusty industrial strength paper towel? I’d cleaned entire counters with a single sheet of these bad boys, so what was a sneeze or one million? So I crunched my abdominal muscles, crossed my legs, closed my eyes and hunkered down for the violence to end. A staccato series of sneezes later, I opened my eyes.

There, in my hand, I clutched the pitifully wadded remains of my damp and steadily disintegrating paper towel. FALSE ADVERTISING! Boooo! (How quickly I turn.)

Gingerly, I felt my nose. I couldn’t be sure without a torch to shine up my nasal cavity and a mirror to better study it, but it felt like I was missing skin. I’d definitely lost a few hairs by the root in the late struggle. Ow. I briefly contemplated opening up the solid mass of paper and mucus that I held to further investigate but as I mentioned earlier – I’m really not that kind of kindergartner.

However. It was really kind of dark in that theater. Maybe I could discreetly insert the tip of one finger to check the state of affairs in my nose? I cast a furtive look around to see if it was light enough for anyone to make out what I was up to.

… and met the eyes of everybody three rows deep to the front and back of my seat. It was like one of those scenes from Children of the Corn where individual parents turn around from their everyday tasks to be confronted by the phalanx of creepy kids except in this case I was the creepy kid and everyone staring at me was desi, grown up, and most definitely not expressionless. Thankfully, another significant difference was that nobody attacked me with a sickle. My people are so polite.

I quietly offered up a mumbled “sorry” to the universe rather than the uncle in front whose neck I’d probably sprayed with a few billion of my germs and did what I ought to have done 30 minutes earlier: skedaddled to the restroom to wash my puffy face, my germy hands and my poor tender nose. Then I bought myself a hot cup of tea to nurse and sidled back inside.

Coz I’m thickskinned like that.


Posted by on July 3, 2010 in Life, Personal


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

6 responses to “Coz One Bout of Public Humiliation Wasn’t Enuff

  1. the mad momma

    July 4, 2010 at 3:45 am

    err.. and what did you think of the movie? THIS is what I call false advertising. I kept reading in the hope of finding out what you thought of it. worth a watch?

  2. dipali

    July 4, 2010 at 4:11 am

    Ditto the mad momma! Or was it the movie that induced the sneezorama?
    Hope you are okay now.

  3. Amrita

    July 4, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    Fine, fine, I wrote about it. 😛

  4. le embrouille blogueur

    July 7, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    Ah ha ha …..I applaud you getting back to spraying some more of the “nasal mist” on UncleJi.When I came to the US, people used to give me the looks when I started my sneeze relay race. And would offer all kinds of “allergy” solutions. To this day, none of that works for me. Wonderful post on a “noseful” topic.

    • Amrita

      July 8, 2010 at 2:09 pm

      At last! Somebody who understands the pathos of the situation!

  5. Pack ye germ?

    July 8, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    P.S. Pathos. Situation. How can it be that these two words are uttered in unison and I not be there? Ain’t gonna happen. So here I am, fello pachyderm! Na, na, don’t embrace me with wide-open arms just yet, coz I’m in the opposite camp — yes, the one that turns around and stares and stops short of taking you down with a sickle for spoling their movie-watching experience. 😛

    I know, I know, I hardly come across as this hardnosed humanoid, but given that I go to the movies ever-so-rarely, anyone that gets in the way of me and my movie usually has hell to pay for (unless hubby’s in the vicinity coz then I’m on a pretty tight leash: don’t stare, don’t mumble about guy in next seat crunching on chips too loudly, don’t roll eyes at the poor lady who walks in 5 mins late and standing right in front of you scans for her seat in the dark, don’t this don’t that, you get the picture. He That Authored The Etiquette Bible Shall Have The Epitome Of Impoliteness For A Wife = Poetic Justice? You bet!). And that includes cinema-hall cell-phone babblers, texters, chatterboxes, bringers of screaming kids, and yes… the sneezers/coughers. You got flu? Please to not punish people (already) in “concentration” camp, e.g. cinema hall. Too much to ask? 😀

    Having got that off my chest, I TOTALLY loved all the nursery-rhymey drama in here (hey, it wasn’t *my* movie you busted or to say another way I ain’t the uncle whose neck you “misted”): The Seuss-isms (One sneeze, two sneeze…), HONK! said my nose, trusty bad boy Bounty breathing his last (awww, poor brave paper towel…phlegm firehosed the hell outta him, apparently. But at least he died in your arms right?…ah, how to refrain from recalling the Cutting Crew song now)…

    Btw, notice how this post puts your “I am pretty phlegmatic” SpeakBindaas-ism in new light? Not to mention that (made for you)Ironman 2 line, “The soot and I are one” (you were clearing out your flue, remember?) LOL!!

    What? Your turn to come after me with a sickle? oh no… RUN!!

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