Other people's TMI

So, I’m in line at the post office, waiting to mail my bills out before I go on vacation tomorrow. This woman a few people ahead of me saw a man she knows, and he stopped to chat on his way out. Normally, pleasantries don’t bother me. The line’s not moving that fast, and it’s no skin off my ass.

So, instead of “hi, how are ya, how’s the family,” I get a blow-by-blow description of someone’s infectious disease. This is not information I or the rest of the line needs to get on with our day. I feel bad for the poor person who’s got this awful thing, and it sounds like something I would not wish on anyone. But, dammit, I don’t need to hear about lymph nodes so swollen, they touch the uvula. And I don’t care to hear about the other symptoms either, especially if they involve purulent material, as this poor soul’s did.

I do NOT wish to overhear of prostate exams/Pap smears/biopsy results at the local bistro. I also don’t give a flaming rat’s ass about financial difficulties, marital issues, or how rotten your kids are. There is a time and a place to discuss all this, and it’s not in a public place where God-knows-who can hear it.


You think that’s bad? This guy was talking to a friend in the line at my register at Wal-Mart on Sunday about how his wife was so obese she needs one of those electric scooter-things to get around everywhere…and that she was developing bedsores because of the massive amounts of flesh.


Did you kick their asses?

Msrobyn, I’m sorry but I didn’t catch the full jist of your post. I can’t see very well today. You see, I’ve got this horrid sore right on my forehead, and it drains this yellow-greenish puss pretty frequently and it runs into my eyes, blurring my vision.

What was it that you were saying?

By the way, have you heard my Toothpaste Story?

Everyone’s a comedian :rolleyes:

OP: You’ll love this thread: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=44749

Tzel: Thanks for the reminder.

While I was browsing through the Onion the other day, I found this:

Seems I ran into the author of this column.


What the hell do you do in a situation like this? Under normal circumstances I’d say walk away, but you were standing in line (similarly, you might have been couped up in an elevator, or on a bus or something, where you can’t get away). Do you ask them to shut up, or go outside, or keep it down? Is that rude? Do you say, “I’m sorry, but your conversation is making me feel ill/uncomfortable/nauseous. Could you wait until after I’ve finished my business?” Or would Miss Manners not approve?

This morning my boss showed me a new videotape for our department, and much of it revolved around medical terminology and methodology (not gross stuff, just talking about blood and hemophilia), and I swear I’m such a nelly I started to get lightheaded, and wasn’t sure if it was proper etiquette to say, “Excuse me, but I need to get some fresh air” or not. I suppose I could have. I just kinda said, “Boy, it’s stuffy in here” as soon as it ended and went to my desk to sit down until it passed. Yuck.


I had a similar experience recently. My husband and I were at an inexpensive restaurant eating dinner. It was buffet night so we showed up with our appetites, ready to strap on the ol’ feed bags. As we were digging in to our heaping plates, the woman behind us starts to tell a story. She is a nurse in an emergency room and decided to share last night’s escapades with her table. There were several people with her so she really had to speak up to get to everyone. I don’t normally go woozy at this kind of stuff, but she was really into the adjectives. You know, how stuff was oozing, putrid, jelly-like; she also liked to talk about how the sound of ripping skin, gurgling, general scariness. And then, guess what? She took the guy up to surgery. Oh goody! More stories! I didn’t feel comfortable telling her to shut up (what can I say? I’m a wuss) so we ended up just leaving. I do have to wonder though: She told some pretty nasty stuff and it seemed like an awful lot to be happening to one guy. I certainly hope she wasn’t embellishing for her listeners enjoyment!