Remember back when I used to have a small problem with a “spitting boss” in Suzhou? Well, I’d almost forgotten about how much it can annoy you to sit next to someone who constantly feels as if s/he needs to clear his/her throat and spit, until last night when I went see a concert by the Moscow symphony orchestra at Daning Theatre. I’d managed to score a good seat, just behind all the “important” Chinese guests that had been “decorated” with a flower in their suit jacket. Most of them were 50+, dressed up, and looked genuinely happy about being there. Except for the man sitting in front of me.
Clearly bored with the concert and music, he kept twisting and turning in his seat, reading about sports car in a magazine that he had brought along… and… clear his throat and spit in a napkin! The latter made me see red. It was just horrible to sit and listen to him interrupting the atmosphere by clearing his throat in the middle of a beautiful piano solo! I thought I was the only one that was bothered, until I realized that a number of Chinese men and women around me actually turned to him and gave him a long, cold stare. Also, the people sitting directly next to him ended up moving to other seats in order to get away from his noise and unhygienic action. Still, the man did not as much as show a sign of shame, but rather, kept coughing, clearing his throat, and spitting loudly into his napkin, throughout the whole concert.
Yesterday, a new legislation came into force in China: banning smoking in restaurants, theatres, public transport waiting rooms, hotels, and several other enclosed public places (I only feel a tad bit excited about this because I know it’s not going to work for a long time still –Chinese people smoke everywhere. In our office building, white-collar workers smoke at the fire escape staircase –despite being told not to by the management). I seriously wish that they could ban the spitting in theatres/offices/airplanes too. By all means: clear your throat at the bathroom/on the street. But don’t spit in a napkin. At least not during a concert, in the middle of a soft, beautiful piano solo.