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After the Great Wetback Episode Of 1986, one of the biggest changes in societal customs I had to face was this business of “eating on the run”, or indeed even “eating quickly”.  This made about as much sense as “traveling tastily” or “delicious walking”:  the melding of two disparate activities actually made me angry.

Where I came from it was understood that when you eat, you sit down down to do so, in a place which caters [sic]  to eating and not in a car (exceptions made for a drive-in place like Sonic).  Even when traveling, when it came time to eat, it would involve pulling off to the side of the road — preferably at a rest area, but otherwise well off the road to avoid a collision, and then eating your (prepackaged meal brought from home), preferably outside the car at a table (rest area) or right there (tailgating).

Don’t even get me started about the custom of “brown bagging” whereby one eats at one’s work desk.  Ugh.

After a while, though, I got sick of ranting about it, and just went along with the strange foreign practice, although in the three or so decades since, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually eaten a meal in the car when it was in motion.

At college, I was astounded at the number of kids who would bring their Big Macs and what have you right into the classroom, and gobble it down while waiting for the lecturer to show up, or sometimes even during the class (if the professor didn’t care).

Nothing is more disgusting than being subjected to the smell of someone else’s food in a place that isn’t a restaurant.

So when I read this story, I gave the man a (virtual) standing ovation:

A young London woman travelling alone at night was told she wasn’t allowed on a bus – because her fried chicken wings would ‘stink’ it out.

Predictably, all the usual moans about safety and such were trotted out — but to no avail, because:

Stagecoach’s website states: ‘You can’t eat or drink anything that will cause offence or upset other passengers.’

Of course, the driver was found to be in the wrong and no doubt Head Office whacked his pee-pee.  But get this:  this stupid tart hadn’t come off the night shift, she’d been visiting a friend’s house.  Why the hell couldn’t she have eaten there instead of taking her stinky chicken dinner onto the bus?  Of course:

‘I have always eaten on buses, on the way home from school. There weren’t that many people on the bus anyway. Some people were just shouting at him to just drive the bus. I felt really embarrassed. People were looking at me eating and I felt so fat. I felt a bit depressed by it. I went and sat upstairs right at the front for extra safety.’

Oh boo fucking hoo.  You act like a mannerless lout, and then get upset about being made to feel ashamed?  (And by the way:  you are fat.)

It’s the fact that people have somehow become accepting of boorish behavior that nonsense like this is tolerated.

I should point out that I called out one oaf in a lecture room, and told him to go and eat outside.  “Why?” was the hurt question.  “Because I’m not interested in smelling your rancid food,” was my response.  He didn’t move, whereupon I said, “Do you want me to come over and take your food and toss it?”

He gave me an angry look and went out.  A couple of the kids looked at me like I was the bad guy, but one girl said, “Thank you for that.  He’s always doing it, and it makes me feel sick.”

He never did it again.

The structure of manners is society’s lubricant in that it allows us to get along each day without killing each other, and I am not going to be cast as the bad guy simply because I try to remove the irritant.

6 comments

  1. So what’s wrong with brown-bagging it? Many worksites no longer have cafeterias or even lounge areas, thus unless you take over a meeting room there is no place to eat but your desk. Plus with the cost of eating out versus the savings of eating last night’s leftovers (rather than throwing it away), I’ve saved quite a bit of money over the years. When people from work do go out for lunch as a group, it’s to a) a noisy as hell restaurant where I can’t here anything, b) expensive, and c) not nearly as good as heating up what I had the night before.

    The rest of your post I somewhat agree with, although I can say I’ve eaten food while driving many times. Given the quality of truck stop food, I doubt pulling over to eat it would make much difference.

  2. Good lord – “People were looking at me eating and I felt so fat.”

    You are fat, and also ugly. No one wants to see you and smell you stuffing yer gob. Wouldn’t be at all surprised to find those chewed chicken bones under the seats.

    You know what’s as bad? Parents at church that bring snacks for their kids. Nothing is worse than the sound and smell of a rug rat munching on fritos or cheez puffs – getting that nasty cheese powder all over the place, while you’re trying to meditate and pray.

  3. I used to brown bag it to work and eat in the lunch room. At some places I worked at coworkers would interrupt me to talk about work. Then I took my lunch out to a nearby park where I would not be interrupted on my meal break. The meal and mental break were very welcome. I would think that eating on a bus would be disgusting. Public transportation is rarely clean.

    Techie and Don make very good points. Sometimes at work a bunch of us would order out and eat in a conference room. I find most restaurants too loud so I retreat into my phone to read the internet. I know it’s rude but otherwise I’m left there just nodding or looking around the room.

    Techie, you’re absolutely right about brats in churches. When I went home for holidays the Churches were filled with strangers who got there early and brought walkman type radios, water bottles etc. This isn’t a sporting event, put that crap away. I haven’t been back in years. I’m sure the rude little buggers have been given video games and such to keep them occupied rather than learn about the religion their parents claim to profess.

    JQ

  4. Back in the 90’s and 00’s, I wore out passports for the Navy on an annual basis. Nothing worse than getting on a long flight from Honolulu (they’re all long flights) and having someone open a bag of smoked cuttlefish or a jar of shrimp paste. The airlines finally stopped that nonsense a few years ago, but they still allow the odd 16″ pizza or takeaway from the Airport Panda Express, which is still a little gamey for my taste.

  5. Eating on the Washington DC Metro is illegal and will get you a ticket. A minor was once arrested (cuffed and jailed*) for eating french fries in a metro station.

    * ostensibly because minors cannot be ticketed and released on their own recognizance like adults typically are

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