Yesterday, I saw a lady picking her nose in public. Not powdering - picking. Seated with many onlookers in a crowded arena, she seemed completely consumed by her mucus meanderings while lost in her own thoughts. Now, some etiquette teachings may be conflicted as to the vanity of powdering one's nose in public, but I'm pretty sure it's universally considered disgusting to reorganize or extract the nasal cavity's internal components, especially with an audience. Without a wedding ring, this particular picker appeared to be single, and you won't be surprised to hear that she remained alone throughout the show. In fact, people in the vicinity gave her some extra elbow room.
That lady's lack of wherewithal made me think of the consequences of living alone and having no one around to counterpoint your singular daily actions. Everybody zones out sometimes, but people living alone can be susceptible to a sort of tunnel vision, doing things without witnesses so often in the privacy of our own homes, that public protocol may wane a bit, over time. Adjusting undergarments , snapping gum, scratching assorted body parts, inspecting remnants in teeth or nails, etc.; average human activities that aren't appreciated by the masses. (And, let's face it, the list is much longer and more offensive than this.)
When I was a child, an adult told me that somebody always sees you, so don't try to get away with things, because you never know who is watching. Intended as a good behavior guideline at the time, it was also preparation for "Big Brother" and security cameras later in life. After years of paranoia, I've somewhat relaxed my position, but it is true that "the real you" might be revealed to people when you least expect it. In some instances, the greatest flattery may come from being approached by a stranger who mentions something he/she noticed from across the room... let's hope it wasn't the finger in your nose. And, in other instances, you may be approached by the authorities or pay the ultimate price for absent-minded behavior - YouTube!
It's a good thing to be aware of one's public persona, and imagine that someone is occasionally monitoring you. A wise person once told me that getting ahead in life isn't so much about who you know, but about who knows you. People who refer you based upon traits or skills they've witnessed may become more helpful to your career or personal life than "kissing up" can ever do. So, in a way, "keeping your nose clean" really does pay off, I suppose.
We can't live in a house of mirrors - and for most of us, that would cause a monumental therapy bill - but if you catch yourself doing lazy little no-no's in public, maybe you should get out more. Refresh your socialization skills and brush up on those manners, because staying alert and on your best behavior will sometimes reveal opportunities right under your nose!
A single thought: Pick-up artist
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