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.