Serious attitude problem…


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I got on my ferry home, found a spot to sit, second (out of 5) seat from the corridor, on the right, last row in a set of 4, in an upper deck lounge that can accommodate something around 40 passengers. After a few minutes, and older than me gentleman came in and sat right next to me, 1st seat from the corridor. I immediately noticed his constant sniffling. No tissue, no sneezing, no stopping the snot… just sniff, sniff, sniff, every few seconds. As the boat moved, my mind went into, I am going to have to say something, it’s disturbing me so much, the constant sniff, sniff, sniff. He answers his phone, and the sniffling continues through the conversation. I decided I can’t and don’t want to be listening to it anymore and said

  • “excuse me, can you please stop sniffling?”
  • “pardon?”
  • “can you please stop sniffling constantly, it’s disturbing and unpleasant?”
  • “move over then”
  • “considering you came in after I sat down, how about you move?”
  • “do you have a problem?”
  • “I actually do, I think it’s disgusting, listening to the only sound here of the constant sniff, sniff, sniff”
  • “I have a cold, I can’t stop”
  • “you could go downstairs and grab a tissue?”
  • “move over then”
  • “I don’t wish to move”
  • “you know what? what an unpleasant person you are; you are the most unpleasant person I have ever met on this ferry in my 8 years of traveling on it”
  • “I am glad”
  • “I do not want to sit anywhere near a person that unpleasant, so you know what? I am going to move”
  • “thank you”

The man gets up and leaves the room. I notice one person 2 rows in front of me turning around to look back without a word. Intrigued or willing to add that I am the most unpleasant person on the ferry I wonder? The journey continues quietly for me (and other passengers) until we park at the wharf. I go down a level to queue for exit. The man is there, when I am about to walk down letting a person in front of me go, he levels with me and says

  • “are you ok?”
  • “I am absolutely fine”
  • “are you sure? you have a serious problem”
  • “interesting, just because I said I don’t like something that’s disturbing me”
  • “you have a serious attitude problem”
  • “I don’t. You know what? my mother would have slapped me around my ear if I was sniffling like that at home, and even more so if it was in public”

And we both walk off the ferry, via the single file bridge. I let him go before me but I level with him after a few steps.

  • “I don’t have an attitude problem, I just found it disturbing enough to say something”
  • “oh, gosh (ironic chuckle), it’s you again”
  • “attitude problem? just because I say what I don’t like?”
  • “serious attitude problem, what’s your name?”
  • “T”
  • “my name is K”
  • “nice to meet you”
  • “don’t worry, everything is going to be ok”
  • “everything is ok”

I slow down my pace to leave it there. All of this in an absolute flat tone of voice.

Maybe I do have an attitude problem? when someone who doesn’t have a grasp on simple fact that sniffling every 2 seconds might be deemed disturbing, unpleasant or disgusting by other people around you, and you say something about that behavior to the offender, maybe that’s a definition of an attitude problem in me, but what do I know… I have never had to sit next to someone sniffing all the time to the extent you can’t hear anything else.