Monday, November 2, 2009

Spitter’s Light


Spitter’s Light. Also known as Daylight Savings Time.

Buried deep in One Hand Clapping, there are references to a man who lived across the street from us only, it seemed, to spit. He spat in the morning when he came out for his paper. He spat a short while later before he left for work. He spat as soon as he returned home. He spat when he picked up his mail, and he spat each and every other time he stepped outside, until night fell, when, presumably, he spat on his kitchen floor and living room rug.

This “neighbor” didn’t spit because he was ill. He did so out of blind habit, and as a way to mark his territory. He even spat in his driveway and on his front lawn, where he and his wife walked and their little boy played.

Since I worked in a room that faced the street, often with the window open, I had to endure this ignorant soundtrack for years, until the spitter finally moved away. It was during that bleak period that I coined the term “Spitter’s Light,” because, for me, Daylight Savings Time meant having to endure an extra hour of spitting every evening. The term is still in use today.

5 comments:

Elisabeth said...

There is a sign in the connecting tunnel at Flinder's Street station here in Melbourne, a relic from the days when TB was rife. It says 'no spitting'.

You're right to be appalled, if there's one habit that offends my sensibilities, it's spitting, even more so in the days of swine flu and fears of contagion.

I agree too , it's the sound more than anything that disturbs me, as of someone is coughing up their insides for all to see.

William Michaelian said...

Indeed, and little did he know how this revealed his character. It was something so rude and unnecessary, done with pride and arrogance. Oh, well — at least I got an amusing term out of it....

...Gray... said...

How amusing indeed. I'll never be able to look at spitting the same way again.

Rocío Márquez said...

That`s a very Spanish habit, especially in the very South of Spain where I live. It's even considered healthy if you have a flu or a throat-ache! Really funny piece Mr. Michaelian, I´m looking forward to visting this blog soon again (mine it's about theatre but it's written just in Spanish, sorry..)

William Michaelian said...

Thanks, Rocío. You’ll notice in the second paragraph that I did make an allowance for spitting due to illness. And it did cross my mind while responding to Elisabeth that spitting might be seen much differently in other cultures. Like so many other things. Perhaps she and Gray and I should visit the south of Spain and see how strangely the natives view us....

I’m sorry my Spanish isn’t up to par. I’d love to read your blog, but as it is I’m still trying to make sense of English.