Lunch Etiquette

It just so happens that the ladies in the office and I try to go out for lunch on Fridays.  The rest of the week we brown-bag, Tupperware, ziplock, or crock-pot our lunches.  But Fridays we like to get out, take a walk, and maybe even shop a little on the way back.  I love those days because we get to hang out, talk, laugh a little, and enjoy something that didn’t start out as a leftover.

This past Friday we went to a little shop that’s always packed for lunch.  They sell Italian food items mostly, but once in a while they have a scrumptious carrot cake that they sell by the slice.  It is so moist and delicious that it’s hard to believe there’s a vegetable inside.

This is the kind of place where you place your order while you’re in line to pay for it.  The idea is that by the time you get to the cash register, your food will be done.

There were three of us this Friday, and I was in the middle.  While the cash register person was talking to the friend in front of me, they were interrupted by a little old lady who had appeared from the dining area.  She didn’t say excuse me, she just started talking to the cashier.  We all looked her way.

Now, nobody said anything to anybody, and we didn’t discuss it amongst ourselves once seated, but that little old lady was in serious need of a tissue.  She had a big honkin’ glob of something sitting on the top of her nose that just refused to fall off.  Imagine for a moment how securely a golf ball sits on its tee.

And she was an animated speaker.  Nodding and tilting her head, hands and arms flapping every which way, and still the item, whatever it was, just wouldn’t fall off.

I caught myself staring at it in an effort to identify it, losing sight entirely of the fact that she was talking to somebody else.

And then I asked myself what the appropriate thing to do would be.  Do I excuse myself and interrupt her interruption?  And then do I say that she needs a tissue?  Or, “Ma’am, could you wipe your nose?”  How about a more aggressive, “Look Lady, how can you not see that?”  All the possibilities were running their course, and sadly, I did not have a copy of Ms. Manners on me at the time.  It was one of those occasions where I would have indeed pulled it out of my purse and thumbed the pages until I found the appropriate and polite message to convey.

The friend in front of me didn’t say anything.  The friend behind me may not have seen it.  After all, I was probably blocking her view.

Of course, before I could make a decision whether or not to take any action at all, she was gone.  Both she and the biscuit on her nose had left my realm of sight and we were seated with our own plates of food.  The topic of conversation quickly took its own path and I didn’t think about it again until much later.

But the memory of it has prompted the question to resurface.

It was one of those times I wished I’d had a miniature golf club in my pocket for those instances when I feel compelled to take the occasional swipe at things I see sitting atop the noses of other people.



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