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7/15/04 -- Public Manners.

or: The return of the Insomniaville public service announcement.

Bill and I tend to draw distinctions between Private Manners and Public Manners. Everyone does, I imagine. (Or almost everyone; if everyone did, I wouldn't be writing this.) Private Manners: When you're in the basement of your own house and you let out a satisfying, wall-rattling burp that disturbs nobody but the cats. That's okay. You can be on Private Manners there. It's your basement. But big belches don't cut it as Public Manners. If you let out a great big old Richter-scale-disturbing "BRRAAAAAAAPPP!" while Bill and I are walking to a movie theater to see "Memento," we'll fall into each other laughing and your wife will elbow you in the ribs really hard and I'll say something like "Dude! Public manners!".

I can see how sometimes the boundaries get a little confusing. What if you're in your car? It's an enclosed area and people might not be able to get a good look at you while they're keeping their own eyes on the road. But trust me on this much: When you're rolling down 66 in your flashy convertible with the top down and I can see you from the Metro train, you're on Public Manners. Very public. Which means that it's a very bad idea to pick your nose and then eat it. It really detracts from the whole "Hey, look at me -- I'm in a flashy convertible with the top down!" effect. (You don't see people in those pretentious car commercials doing that, do you?) That, and it's really disgusting. Plus it makes me giggle uncontrollably, which causes fellow passengers to have that uneasy "Oh shit -- crazy person on the train laughing at something only she sees; I better move " reaction. Nobody's a winner.

I had other things to babble about, but they can probably wait for some other slow news day. Happy weekend.