The conversation began like this:
Certain Daughter: “Mom? Can I get your advice?”
Me: “Of course. What’s up?”
Certain Daughter: “So….I have this friend.”
CD: “She kind of, well…she picks her nose in public.”
Me: “Hmmmm. That’s a little awkward.”
CD: “Yeah. And she eats it…In public.”
Me: Dry heaving
CD: “I don’t know what to do but it’s really grossing me out.”
Here is where I start to ponder upon the dodgy parts of this particular situation. Keep in mind, this child of mine and her friends, are no longer in that ‘First Grade Stage’ when picking your nose and eating it might not be entirely surprising.
At her age, kids acquire nicknames for things like this. Nicknames they may never, ever live down…such as:
The SBD Farter
That Kid Who Pooped His Pants in Biology
The Menstrator (who unfortunately wore white pants that day)
It took me back to that painful moment in Freshman year when a group of us cheerleaders hopped out of the pool and walked past our entire high school basketball team, talking and flirting as we went.
I was with five other girls who failed to mention the bogie streaming from my right nostril. We’re not talking a polite little klingon either. It was one of those big ones that come out when you’re swimming right after having a cold.
I wanted to die.
You’d think such humiliation ceased upon me reaching adulthood.
You’d be wrong.
A few, very short years ago, I decided I wanted a little extra spending money but didn’t want a serious job. Naturally, I decided to work in the service industry since I’m one of those extroverted vampires who tends to suck the energy away from other people.
My choice? I decided to work at a vegetarian cafe serving fellow beatniks and hippies.
I loved every minute. Except this one:
My first day, we got SLAMMED right as we were opening AND one of the staff called in sick. I was on the cash register/smoothie making for four straight hours with no break. Since I have always been a little self conscious about this sort of thing, I noticed a little tickle in my nose as the wave of hungry, hungry hippies was beginning. Of course doing a nostril check would have clearly been a violation of my Food Handler’s Permit so I did my best to ignore it.
Finally, as it was slowing down, a quiet, unassuming customer came up to me, pulled me to a corner, leaned her small frame over the counter and whispered, “Dear, you have something hanging from your nose. It’s not very appetizing to order food from someone with something hanging from their nose.”
I wanted to die.
No wonder I didn’t make many smoothies that day.
Of course, the bad luck doesn’t always happen to me.
I was teaching a class of preschoolers during cold season one year. Another teacher was sitting with the children as I read a story. Out of nowhere, Alex, the little girl who was sitting on that teacher’s lap sneezed a horrible, earth splattering sneeze.
The next thing I saw was the woman’s face, frozen in horror as she held, in her hand, a fistful of green, goobery snot.
The first thing I thought was ‘EWWWWWWW!”
The second thing: “I’m so glad that wasn’t me.”
Instead, I should have been the kind of friend who would’ve handed her a tissue.
I didn’t. I was too horrified and trying not to pee my pants from laughing.
I would love to someday reconnect with her but in my mind, I only know her as Teacher Amber Who Actually Held Alex’s Boogers.
I’m pretty sure I won’t find that name on Facebook.
But the point is, she unfortunately has a nickname. Just as I have the nicknames ‘Boogery Cheerleader’ and ‘Snot Smoothie Maker’.
Fortunately, I have good, honest friends now who will always tell me the truth. Of course, my sister, Wonder Woman, will always give it to me straight. And my Stacy friend who, shortly after we met, gently pulled me aside and quietly told me to shave my armpits. That is when I knew she loved me for real and we would be friends forever….
My mind snapped back into the present.
Me: “Honey, YOU are the kind of person who is a genuine friend. It’s okay to be grossed out. I know it’s awkward, but you should probably tell her and save her the embarrassment of years to come.”
CD: (eyebrows still furrowed in concentration) “Yeah. You’re probably right.”
Happy Memory Monday Everyone.