I collect weird character traits in my writing journal. If I’m crafting a story that requires braided mullets, pink eye patches, and Elvis Presley white-patent loafers, I have a treasure trove of notes to draw upon. Whenever I go downtown, I seem to attract quirky personalities like flies to beer. It’s probably because I don’t honor the codes and culture of the high rise district. Partly because I make eye contact. Partly because I don’t know the rules.
For instance, if I pull out of the parking garage too far, so I can dart into the next 6-foot opening in traffic, my vehicle will block the sidewalk. If one of the downtown bums happens to amble by, he’ll weave in front of my car and spit on the hood as he passes. Thank you.
Over the years, I’ve been able to record a lot of creative curse words and some startling hand-slamming onto the hood techniques. Unfortunately, I haven’t encountered a creative spitter yet. It’s alway’s a simple matter of hawking a lugi. Aim isn’t important. Usually the hood. Sometimes the window.
According to Lee Carson, the talented photographer who captures spit in motion, Edinburgh has a sanctioned spitting area. The Heart of Midlothian. What a thoughtful outlet for “hiking up a flob” because cars aren’t permitted in the pedestrian area. The cobblestone heart (see picture) marks the site of a former prison and taxhouse where folks were hung without trial. The commoners used to spit on the door as they passed to show their disgust. Now the tradition has morphed into an act of good luck and when you spit, it assures your return to Edinburgh someday.
If spit really works that way, I can expect quite a few downtown itinerants to return to splatter my car. It’s a real character builder for both parties.