• Carmen Milligan

Stop picking your nose. Just. Stop.

At my gym, the elliptical machines are right behind the treadmills, with a carpeted walkway separating the rows. So, they are not very close, but still close enough. Close enough for the treadmill man in front of me to not see or hear me as I got on the elliptical. And close enough for me to see him occasionally stick his finger in his nose.

Perhaps that first poke was just an exploratory mission. Perhaps he felt a little something, and wanted to see what he was up against. Was it too big to sniff? Was he going to have to blow? He was only about 8 minutes into his walk, so what he found on the first round would set the stage for the solution.

Unfortunately, the finger then moved to an angle. That is never good. That means that there had been a discovery, and it was big enough to try to extract. He pulled out his finger and wiped it on his sweatpants.

I feel compelled to point out at this juncture in the story that he was also wearing a fanny pack. You need a clear picture, here.

So, I tried to keep my eyes on the television in front of me. But it's like a train wreck. You don't want to look, but you just can't help it. I saw his right hand move toward his head, and my resolve crumbled. I watched him explore the right nostril. Perhaps the venture into the left cavern had left him with such a sense of fulfillment that he needed that natural high to continue. Once again, the finger initially went straight in, then at a full tilt. Contact had been made. I saw a bit of finger rotation. He was clearly trying to catch a fish.

Again, he wiped the prize on his sweatpants.

I turned my attention back to HGTV, desperately trying to learn how to make she-crab soup.

The left hand rose back up. I had another good 10 minutes in my elliptical program, and I just couldn't handle it.

"Oh, my god, please stop." Thank goodness someone came to my aid. An unnamed savior had saved me from saying the words reverberating so loudly in my own head.

Nope. Turns out, that sentence came out of my mouth.

He turned around and our eyes met. "Yep", and I nodded, acknowledging to him that he had heard correctly. He turned around to look forward, I'm sure very embarrassed. Then he cracked his neck to the right and the left, I guess in an effort to retain a shred of masculinity. Then he grabbed the handgrips on the treadmill. With his hands. And his fingers.

By then, I needed to move on. Get some new scenery. Try to put the past behind me.

That was the day before yesterday. I may need counseling.

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