Today I was talking to a colleague. They were very animated about the conversation and they were speaking very quickly and forcefully. As I was listening, I noticed that they were spitting a lot more than most people do. The little droplets of spit were beginning to cover the notebook I was carrying and I could only imagine what they were doing to my tie. I’m not sure if this person usually spits when they speak because I haven’t spoken with them much before. I will be more careful next time, or perhaps wear a poncho.
It’s made fun of a lot in cartoons, sitcoms and movies, but it’s a very real affliction that many people have. There are some people who can’t help it, and spit constantly when they are speaking. There are others that only spit when they speak loudly. It doesn’t matter when it happens, it’s still disgusting. Let me say that the once-in-a-while random spit drop that flies out of someone’s mouth is not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about people who chronically spit at others when they are speaking.
There have been times that I had to speak in front of an audience after one of these spitters had spoken, and the microphone was drenched with saliva. I have chosen to forego the microphone in those cases and just speak as loudly as I could so people could hear me. I have also had to use telephones after spitters and I have politely wiped them with a napkin or tissue before using them.
Some of these people can’t stop because of a problem, like a hairlip or protruding upper jawline. These people HAVE to spit when they speak, and others understand and just deal with the downpour. Many people who do it are perfectly normal people who just release saliva when they converse. The worst thing that can happen is when a bit of food or something flies out with the spit. Then you’re forced to clean up while the other person is still speaking up a rainstorm. These people may or may not realize they’re doing it, and need to be told. Since they don’t mean it, they need to be told kindly, but forcefully, so they think about it the next time.
You need to tell these people that they spit when they speak! I know if I were a spitter, I would want people to tell me so I can be more conscious of it next time. I admit, I have spit a couple of times while speaking (even shooting a few food particles around), but I’m not chronic (or at least nobody has told me I am). I don’t like leaving conversations only to go into the bathroom and towel off. These people need to be told the classical saying: “Say it, don’t spray it!”