Sidewalk Oysters

Yes.  I’m talking about spit.  It’s gross.  And it happens publicly all the time. I really wish people would stop.

I played sports most of my younger years and for athletes spitting is routine.  Usually the spitting occurs on the field, or the ice, or on the sidelines – any place where the spectators are not.  But when you’re getting gas, or walking your dog, or stepping out of your car to go to a nice dinner, and you see someone spit, or even worse, see what someone has left behind (yes, a sidewalk oyster), it’s gross.  There really is no other way to describe it.  And you’re never looking for it – it’s not something you teach your kids:  “look both ways before crossing the street”; “don’t play with matches”;  “wash behind your ears”; “ watch out for spit on the sidewalk.”

Unfortunately this is a life lesson that most children are taught real time – and usually when it’s too late.

A few days ago I was at the gas station.  The weather finally broke from the oppressive heat and I was happy to be away from air conditioning.  As I waited at the pump I saw a well-dressed guy drive up in a jeep.  He caught my attention because his dog was hanging out of the back window also enjoying the day. The man was pumping gas and petting his dog when he effortlessly spit out what appeared to be a large opaque jellyfish.

Thank fully I didn’t see it land even though I saw it launch.  I was stunned.  I could only imagine what we’ve all seen too many times in very public places like the sidewalk, or the parking lot outside a nice restaurant, or stepping out of your car: the unpleasant splat of another.  Even though the jeep-dog-guy was standing right next to a trash can he spit squarely in the spot where everyone stands to pump their gas.  He didn’t even try for a less public location to purge the nastiness from his system, including the planter about ten feet away.

I imagine some poor mom stressed out running errands.  She has a million things on her mind as she hops from the car and inserts her credit card at the pump.  While she punches her zip code into the key pad she’s oblivious to the mass lurking below.  She hits the “regular gas” option and steps forward to remove the gas cap.  Then it happens:  she steps into the jeep-dog-guy’s fresh sidewalk slider.  There’s no place to wipe her shoe; there’s no hose to spray off the goop; there’s no disinfectant handy; no bucket of hot soapy water (the “soapy water” at a gas stations used to clean the windshield is far from clean, and often doesn’t contain anything other than dirty water); and there aren’t enough paper towels in the world to make that poor mom feel like the bottom of her shoe will ever be clean.

Meanwhile jeep-dog-guy goes about his business even though he made my stomach turn and very well may have ruined someone’s day.  If you do this, please stop.


  • comment-avatar
    Dan October 6, 2015 (6:35 pm)

    I agree with everything!
    (Except: why do you go to a gas station to enjoy a beautiful day? I usually go to the beach or a park or something. )

  • comment-avatar
    Felicity from Nassau October 7, 2015 (8:26 am)

    Yuk… never really thought of this….you are going to turn me into a cleanliness freak NK !!!

    • comment-avatar
      Nebraska Kale October 8, 2015 (9:26 am)

      Agree. Sorry – I checked with several people to see if the topic was too gross to post but they believed it had to be addressed. Thank you so much for your comments. NK