A while ago I posted an open letter to my students and in it I mentioned that I can tell when they are texting during class. Texting secretly from a classroom desk requires the phone to be held in the lap which means the neck and upper back are held at a particular angle in order to see the screen and operate the keyboard. This angle is unique to texting, it seems. I'm pointing this out again because people seem to honestly think they are being subtle about it. I'm here to say that this is not possible. Not. Possible. So stop because I and every other instructor who has their very own cellular telephone knows what you're doing and we're making a mental note and it may bite you in the ass at a later date.
This got me thinking about other things that people do that are impossible to misinterpret.
For example, I was at a sandwich shop the other day sitting at a table waiting for my oder to be ready. A guy came in and was standing at the counter ordering his food. He had his hand in his pocket and from behind his shorts started kind of jiggling a little. No, he wasn't doing that. What he was doing was either scratching himself or, I dunno, fluffing his "pillows"? Disclaimer: Now I do not now have nor have I ever had male genetalia so I am not an expert as to what sort of care and maintainence is involved. However, based on how often I see men jamming their hands into their pockets and making adjustments it must be an area that requires a lot of fine tuning. Is it super itchy? If so, is it naturally that way or are the super itchy guys less than fresh? If it's not itchy, are they in pain? If so, is it so excruciating that it requires immediate and public redress? I only ask because women experience discomfort in personal areas as well but it seems to me that our way of dealing with it is to, well, deal with it. We endure until we have a chance to fix it without putting on a show. Most women would risk a punctured lung from a rogue underwire bra than start meddling with their girls in the middle of, say, ordering sandwiches. (See how I did that? Full circle, baby.) Perhaps they aren't itchy or in pain and are merely touching base, if you will. Like Monk needing to touch all the parking meters, perhaps it has a calming effect. My point, because I have one and I should probably get to it, is that a hand in the pocket to jiggle coins or something else strictly genital-free looks nothing like a hand in the pocket intended to scratch and itch or lift and separate or whateverthehell is happening. So, guys, people can tell you're doing it. Maybe other guys can't see it happening because if they could then they would have to admit that their own forays into personal shipping and handling are visible as well. Women notice it, though. The next time you hear a women mutter, "Ugh, seriously?!?!", under her breath look in the opposite direction of her gaze and you'll see what I'm talking about.
Nose picking. This one is particularly relevant to me because I had to ride the train with a guy yesterday that literally picked his nose, rolled it on his fingers, maybe dropped it onto the floor, maybe touched it to his mouth for the entire 45 minute ride. I don't know exactly what he was doing with it because I was too busy craning my head around far enough to keep him out of my peripheral vision. I must have looked like the girl from The Exorcist I was trying so hard to spin my head around and away from him. Honestly, if I had been on that train much longer I would probably have spewed pea soup all over as well. And I didn't eat any pea soup. So, anyway, this guy clearly thought he was being stealthy about it. He seemed to be trying to do his digging quickly and with purpose so that he could remove his hand for phase II, The Rolling. What he didn't realize was that any amount of time with finger in nose is A) really, really obvious and B) an eternity for those nearby. It doesn't look anything like nose scratching. I don't know why but it just doesn't. Thus, I would like to add nose picking to the list of things that can not be mistaken for something more innocent. Also, the reason I had to endure the Booger Show was that I was in the window seat and The Nose Goblin was in the aisle seat. In order to get away I would have had to look at him, ask him to let me out, and then pass through is boogerified air space. As it was, I had to do this anyway because he was riding the train aaalll the way to the end of the line in Providence.