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2012/04/16 / tocovava

breakfast etiquette

You can imagine what you will about the breakfast area in the Comfort Inn Annapolis Old Mill Bottom road.

It is hardly fine dining.  Not decorated with valuable breakables, nary a piece of silverware to be found, nor a ceramic coffee mug for that matter.  No lake view out the windows.  The view showing a row of sun-faded curtain-backs and an overgrown outline of dried weeds from where the swimming pool used to be.

The breakfast area is a rectangular room set off the lobby.  TV playing CNN in one corner. Opposite that is the coffee area.  Along one long wall you will find the cream cheese squeeze packets and the waffle maker, cereal bins, styrofoam bowls and the rest.  Opposite that is the lobby and the employee laundry. Six or seven tables sat mostly empty between those long walls.

A family of four sat at one table. At another table, a teenaged brother and sister scarfed down waffles and orange drink. Their mother joined them at 9:30EDT ( 8:30 CDT, 6:30 PDT, time-stamp provided by CNN splitting their screen to show the clanging of the opening bell on Wall Street).   The mother wore baggy sweat clothes trying to cover up the extra pounds  She wore track shoes showing thick clean treads.  She spooned yogurt from a container into a sytro-foam bowl.  Her son set a waffle in front of her.

I’ve got nothing invested in Wall Street.  I yawned, weak coffee to blame.  Then I sneezed.  It was a robust sneeze, like runny yogurt, giving air to a grievance inside my nasal passage.  The grievance edged into my nose.  I used a napkin to blow my nose.  I soon discovered that the sound rang out as clear as the opening bell on Wall Street.  The mother looked at me and said, “REALLY!?”  Then she put her spoon into her yogurt.  Blame the weak coffee again, because I wasn’t sure the chastisement had actually happened.  I looked at the teenagers and their mother, the body language at that table was tense, the yogurt literally quivering on the spoon.  The mother had fired the first shot.  Expected now was a response from the snotty punk at the table one over.  I wanted to say, “EXCUSE ME”, in that jagged aggressive way, thinking if any confrontation spooled out I could simply say I sneezed and said, “Excuse me”.  But I said nothing.  Does etiquette dictate a retreat to a corner or to a bathroom for the blowing of one’s nose? But surely hissing “REALLY!?” across tables in the breakfast area of the Comfort Inn Annapolis on Old Mill Bottom Road is uncouth as well?  What happened to civil society?

Breakfast for me was spoiled.  I couldn’t say my sneeze and her response spoiled their breakfast because they continued to eat and drink. But maybe they ate begrudingly.  Not wanting to cede the breakfast area to me. Then the terrorists would win.

Oh whatever happened to the good old days when men wore suits and carried handkerchieves?  A vigorous blowing and clearing of the nasal passage done while walking down Wall Street.  And what happened to saying, “Excuse Me”, after blowing one’s nose in public?

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