The Nose Picker

We’ve all seen them in a public space, and may even know one personally. The Nose Picker is sometimes the Loud Cell Phone Talker, or the One Who Sneezes on You on the Bus/Train, or even Inappropriate Pubic Display of Affection Person. This person occupies a public space, spreads out, and makes damn sure everyone knows they’re there. And oh, you know they are, and you all watch them…well…at least I do. And I want to tell you about the Nose Picker I’ve watched more than once between class on Mondays.

Columbia doesn’t really have a campus per se, but there are several public spaces students can go to have a cup of coffee, do some homework, and take advantage of the WiFi. My favorite is in the 624 Michigan building on the 11th floor. I’ve been spending my free time between classes this semester there, and every time I do, the Nose Picker shows up.

At first, she was just Talks Loudly on Cell Phone with Equally Loud, Annoying Ring and Voice. By now, I’m used to loud cell phone talkers, so I just dealt with it and went back to reading my book. But yesterday… yesterday, the Nose Picker revealed herself.

She was sitting in the center of the room, with 4 people (including me) also there. And she began picking her nose. And eating her boogers. Now, I haven’t seen this happen in public since I was 8, and maybe I’m out of touch, but isn’t this the kind of behavior we abandon when we’re in the 2nd grade? Or at the very least, if those of us who still feel the need to eat the things that come out of our nose exist, shouldn’t they choose to do this where they can’t be seen (the bathroom, and the car [because everyone thinks they’re invisible in there anyway])? So I’m watching this discretely from my seat in the corner, when her phone rings. Loudly. Louder than necessary even if she were waiting for the call while working on the construction site that’s begun operating next to that building. And it’s her boyfriend (which is surprising, because from the looks of her…just…let’s just stick with the surprising) who’s meeting her with lunch. After twenty loudly expressed “I love you baby”s, she went pack to digging for a snack.

I sat there and wondered: Am I obligated to dive between her and her boyfriend when he comes if he goes in for a kiss? Should I scream “Noooooooooooo! She’s been feasting on nose goblins”? I decided against it, and instead turned my attention back to my homework.

Then the boyfriend showed up, and they shared and sandwich, and talked loudly together. Birds of a feather, I suppose. And I looked up, and she was chewing with her mouth wide open. And complaining about how the sandwich tasted. “What’s ooonnnn this?” She whined like a six year-old who wanted a cookie. Her boyfriend said honey mustard, and she complained, mouth full of food, about how it was keeping her from tasting the cheese.

And things went on like this for about 15 minutes, until Valentines Day came up, still loudly (by this point everyone else in the room besides me and the Nose Picker couple was on the phone or listening to an iPod, and since I have neither of these, I continued watching). It was like watching 5th graders spread their romantic wings; cute but nauseating.

Then, THEN…the sex talk. Oh yes, the Nose Picker couple was also The Couple Who Talks about Sex Loudly in Public. And I must confess, sometimes I don’t mind hearing this talk in front of other people. Sometimes, it’s alright. But other times…other times it’s people that you really don’t want to think about all sweaty and naked and panting.
Do you have any Nose Picker stories? I have plenty of others, though this one was most recent, and I felt I needed to share it, because frankly, we all watch the Nose Pickers. Admit it.

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