[b]Cover your freakin' mouth!!!![/b]

Ok. This has happened to me ** three times** today and while I can’t really say or do anything about it at work (as you shall see), I can vent my frustration here. And doubtless get skewered for it.

So, I’m walking down the hall at work, and one of my co-workers, let’s just say someone with a lot of X’s and Z’s in their last name is also walking down the same hallway. We are about 10-20 feet apart, and approaching one another when Mr Huang…, er, Smith has to cough. Rather than discretely coughing into his hand,say, or a tissue, he opens his mouth like Pavarotti at La Scala, and proceeds to empty the contents of his lungs in a nice hallway-filling aerosol that I now have to walk through (with my open cup of coffee).

I don’t know of any way delicate to say this, but I find this behaviour to be , well, unhygeinic and just plain icky. As I said, this has happened to me three times this morning, with three different co workers, all of the mainland China persuasion. I know this is standard cultural practice there, but we’re not in the Peoples Republic of China, we’re in the People’s Republic of Cambridge, Massachusetts, which is where my dilema comes in.

I wish I could say “could you please cover your mouth when you cough in an enclosed place?” but would doubtless be taken to task as a borderline racist by either HR, my Chinese co-workers or both.

Unfortunately, I am a little pressed for time, or I’d tart this up with the obligatory “Asshat” and “Cumnozzle.” Sorry if this rant is a lame as it appears on preview.

I’d say "JESUS H CHRIST, COVER YOUR MOUTH!, but that’s just me.

Reminds me of when I had just gotten over some near death SARS like illness a few years ago. I was at a casino with my sister and was washing my hands CONSTANTLY and using anti-bacterial gel in an effort to keep from getting sick again, and was doing well throughout the day. As we’re walking to the cashier, a guy walks by and SNEEZES full on into my fucking face. My hands were full and I couldn’t even cover. Son of a bitch.

So are you saying that in China they don’t cover their mouths to sneeze? Or cough? Gah. That’s nasty. I might say something like “Could you cover your mouth- I just got done being sick and I’m trying not to catch anything”. Or my less diplomatic phrase from earlier. Either might work.

I work with a few people who do the same thing. They also sneeze all over, wipe their noses with their hands, etc. I have said “Cover your mouth please”, but for me, covering the mouth/nose with the hand is just as bad as not covering at all (ever grasp a wet door handle after the person ahead of you just sneezed in his/her hand?)

So now I tell people who feel the need to hack up a lung/ clear their sinuses to please cough into their arm. For the most part they do.

Now getting my boss to quit picking her nose mid-conversation is another story…

I hope your Chinese coworkers don’t over-indulge in another one of their customs. They spit constantly.

My ex-boss picks her nose constantly. When sitting in my office talking to me, she picked a good one and then…wiped it on the bottom of the chair.

You’d go insanely bonkers if you were here in Hong Kong. Pre-SARS or post-SARS, attitudes haven’t changed a bit.

The other day, I was sitting next to a colleague, both of us looking at the same computer screen as we tried to figure something out. She’s been fighting off a cold for the past week or so, and a sneeze sneaked up on her. She did make every effort to cover her mouth (and I made every effort to duck) but nonetheless I felt a spray of spittle on my eyeball.

Mmmm hmmm, nothing like a sick person’s bodily fluids coming into direct contact with your mucous membranes!

shudder I don’t seem to have come down with anything, yet. I hope she was past the contagious stage.