When my family and I first arrived in Paris, we headed straight for the Eiffel Tower. So did most of the world, it seemed. The lines for tickets and then for entrance were frustratingly long. At first, we didn’t care. We were in Paris! But after a while, being herded through queues with masses of people began to wear on our nerves. And we started to notice something: these people weren’t like us. We didn’t know where they were from, or who they were, but we started to notice an inordinate number of people doing something that was totally foreign to us.
They were picking their noses.
That’s gross enough, but there’s more. They were picking their noses and wiping it on the rails. And the ticket building. And on their pants. Right in front of us. In public.
We were horrifying enthralled.
We almost couldn’t stop watching these foreigners mining their noses for treasure. In part, we had to watch them if only to be forewarned where NOT to touch. We began to wonder how many boogers were dried to the rail and imagined that running your hand along the rail would be akin to feeling the bumps of a Braille alphabet. That became our code word: Braille. We started saying it any time we saw someone picking his/her nose in public. Sadly, we said it more than we ever thought we would.
I didn’t write this to gross you out. Rather, I’m giving you warning so you don’t wander into the Tower lines blindly. There’s Braille on those rails. Keep your hands to yourself.
This was my friendly ‘head’s-up.’ What’s yours?