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How does he smell? - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
j4
j4
How does he smell?
I am fed up with other people's mucus. Er, not literally fed, because that would be even more grim than the current state of affairs. But still. addedentry has had a cough for the last week or so; it's getting better, so he says, but last night it got better so loudly that he kept us both awake for an hour coughing. Not his fault, of course, and I did sympathise even as I was dragging the duvet over my head and trying to sleep; but now I'm tired and even-scratchier-than-yesterday and was hoping that the office would provide respite from that sort of thing. NOT SO. The bloke on the other side of the office is sniffing. He sniffs approximately once every 30 seconds. Now, he's a very blokey bloke (swaggers around the office, listens to music on his headphones so loud that I can hear it from over here, greets everybody with "awright bub?", and probably sits with his legs so wide apart that they take up three tube seats' worth of room -- you know the type) and when he sniffs it's not some kind of ladylike snf-snf noise. Oh no. It's a rollicking great hrrrrrrrrnnnnnnschhhhhhhhhhgg of a tidal wave of mucus, leaving everybody in the office in no doubt as to the copiousness of the chap's snot and the gusto with which he swallows it.

Is it just me, or are people generally expected to have learned to blow their nose by the time they reach secondary school? I remember sniffing at playgroup, or rather I remember the playgroup leader telling all the other kids to call me "Sniffy Miffy" until I stopped. No, I don't think bullying is a great way of ensuring that people keep tissues in their pocket and know how to use them, and besides, the odd sniff isn't that big a deal; but, really. Is there a tactful (by which I mean non-suicidal) way to tell a seven-foot bouncer of a bloke to blow his goddamned nose already, or at least go and hack up mucus somewhere else?

There's a wider issue, of course, of it apparently being quite unfashionable these days to actually think for a nanosecond about whether your actions are going to annoy lots of other people. But if I start ranting about that in its entirety, I may never stop. And I'll probably just annoy you lot in the process...
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Comments
camellia_uk From: camellia_uk Date: April 11th, 2006 02:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Is there a tactful (by which I mean non-suicidal) way to tell a seven-foot bouncer of a bloke to blow his goddamned nose already, or at least go and hack up mucus somewhere else?

The mothering approach doesn't usually result in them beating you up... "Aww you poor thing... would you like a super-soft tissue?"
The trouble is, the answer is often "Nah I'm ok, I'm well-'ard. Schhnnuurrrffff!"
:-S
(Deleted comment)
j4 From: j4 Date: April 11th, 2006 03:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
I suspect anonymised emails (however polite) would count as misuse of University computing facilities. And anonymous emails generally feel a bit stalkerish to me, to be honest...
aldabra From: aldabra Date: April 11th, 2006 02:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Get him some well'ard man-size tissues and leave them on his box when he slips out to do man-things elsewhere...
j4 From: j4 Date: April 11th, 2006 03:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
This would probably only work if they came with usage instructions on the box... :-/
rbarclay From: rbarclay Date: April 11th, 2006 03:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
If he doesn't get the subtle hint of tissues on his desk, just follow it up with usage instructions - in large & friendly letters, with DON'T PANIC as title ;)
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: April 11th, 2006 05:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
If it's consoling in any way Germaine Greer consigned all such people to her own Room 101 and away they went by popular majority vote.

I would go with the man-sized tissues directly offered and left on the desk no matter what his response is to your very kindly-stated enquiry if he needs one. Go maternal: do you need a tisuue? It sure sounds like you do, and here, I've bought some for you!
From: tamsinj Date: April 11th, 2006 06:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
some people never learnt. i'm slowly getting the hang on it - but it still seems to generate far more mess, and make me almost pass out.
j4 From: j4 Date: April 12th, 2006 10:12 am (UTC) (Link)
1. Put tissue over nose, with one hand holding it in place on each side.
2. Press down on one side, so that one nostril is blocked.
3. Breathe out sharply through nose, forcing mucus through the unblocked nostril.
4. Repeat for other side.

It shouldn't generate mess except in the tissue, which is what the tissue is for. If your nose is too badly blocked to shift the mucus by blowing (the only reason I can think of why it would make you "almost pass out"...), try inhaling some kind of decongestant (Vick; olbas oil; or even just breathing in steam from hot water can help loosen things up) first.

I'm assuming you can breathe through your nose normally (i.e. without difficulty/pain/passing out) when you don't have a cold/hayfever/etc? If not, you may want to think about seeking medical advice...
From: tamsinj Date: April 12th, 2006 10:29 am (UTC) (Link)
pttttht. i do know the theory. you've had far more practise :P
the mess i mean is over the upper lip as the tissue doesn't seem to catch everything.

i think the dizzyness is not getting the constriction of tissue-fingers right.. too little, and nothing happens, too much and there's too much pressure. it's all a matter of practise.
j4 From: j4 Date: April 12th, 2006 10:56 am (UTC) (Link)
the tissue doesn't seem to catch everything

You should be able to use the tissue to pinch/wipe away anything that escapes onto the upper lip, once you've finished blowing. I sort of push the tissue forward with both fingers, pushing it across the end-of-nose/upper-lip area, as I take it away from my nose. If that makes sense.

But yes, it's just practice, as you find what works for you. Really advanced techniques include blowing your nose with one hand, or while wearing ski-gloves, or underwater. (One of these may be a made-up advanced nose-blowing technique.)
From: tamsinj Date: April 12th, 2006 11:04 am (UTC) (Link)
the one-handed one.. right?
hairyears From: hairyears Date: April 12th, 2006 12:52 am (UTC) (Link)

Nostroglottal breathing execises

Is there a tactful (by which I mean non-suicidal) way to tell a seven-foot bouncer of a bloke to blow his goddamned nose already, or at least go and hack up mucus somewhere else?

It's important to avoid confrontation and adopt a helpful tone. After the next virtuoso performance of musical mucus reversal, open your desk drawer and say:

If you're having particular difficulties today, can I offer you a corkscrew?

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