I am a spitter. I spit in gutters, I spit on pavements, I spit on tarmac. I spit when I run, I spit when I walk. I had, however, managed to avoid spitting in front of the five-year-old, until recently…
In hindsight, I blame the sun – it had dulled my senses and exacerbated the productivity of my salivary gland. I regretted the expulsion, before my phlegm hit the road.
“Did you just spit?” she queried, her faced contorted in illustration of her disgust.
“No”, I lied.
“You did, I saw you.”
“You just spitted.”
“I am going to tell everyone you spitted.”
“No, don’t do that. I didn’t spit. I… erm… got a fly in my mouth, I was just getting rid of it.”
“So it’s okay to spit if something nasty gets in your mouth?”
“Ummm”… I considered the potential exploitation such an unspecific law might facilitate, but I was tired and sweaty, and so I said: “Yes.”
She nodded. I interpreted the nod as an innocent and endearingly naïve acceptance of my word, her elder and guide in, amongst other things, the pernickety realm of etiquette.
Later as the kids and I ate dinner, the five-year-old’s face contorted once again.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
But she didn’t answer. Instead, she gobbed a gooey mush of food onto her thirteen-year-old brother’s plate. It left her mouth with a snap of wind and landed on the plate with a plop.
A repulsed and disbelieving pause gripped the table.
The five-year-old smiled, shrugged her shoulders, looked at me, and said:
“Some cabbage got in my mouth.”
The Male Nanny