There’s a certain noise a person makes before spitting up a wad of phlegm. I have no clue how to convey the sound in writing, but I’m confident my readers have heard it before. It seems to come from deep within the body. It sounds nasty, just plain gross.
I was walking down St. Claude Avenue in New Orleans when I heard the noise we Cajuns call crache. It was a sweltering summer day, and I was rocking shorts, a tank top, and a cute cap my friend in the National Guard had given me. The cap was originally camo, but I’d died it black and removed the bill. I thought I was hot stuff.
I heard the sound and knew someone was about to spit, but I just kept walking. Someone else’s mucus was none of my business.
The mucus became my business seconds later when I felt something hit my head. I looked around and saw an old African American man who seemed nervous and embarrassed. His spittle had just landed on my cute little cap!
Ahm so sorry, ma’am, he drawled.
He produced a paper towel from some pocket and began dabbing at my cap.
I didn’t mean to do that, he said.
I never for one second thought he’d purposely spit on me, but that didn’t make my situation any less gross! Oh dear lord, the man’s mucus was on my person!
Ah can’t see right, he continued, ‘cause Ah got this cataract. He used the hand not swabbing at my cap to pull down his lower eyelid.
I found myself looking at an eyeball both milky-cloudy and bloodshot. Ewwww! Why did he have to show me his sick eye? The situation was getting worse by the moment. God forgive me, but I just wanted to get away from the man.
It’s ok, I said.
No problem! I told him
He continued to apologize and smear his bodily fluid all over my hat.
I finally extricated myself from his apologies and ministrations and went home to scrub my cute little hat with hot water and lots of soap.