People who spit when they talk. It has to be my ultimate pet peeve. Hard to imagine its not on your list either.
There is this guy I know. I hope he will not recognize himself in this story so I have chosen to use a fictional name: Gus.
Gus is a gentleman in his 60s. Decent person, a little rough around the edges, but nevertheless no thug or criminal. He tends to attend some dinners and get-togethers I will occasionally organize with friends. But Gus has a significant issue. He spits every time he talks. Sober, drunk, tired, rested, day or night, he spits. And it's unbearable.
This man spits so much that he may want to consider keeping the Covid mask, post Covid. In fact, I often wondered if he should be muzzled. Now if Gus seldom spoke at these gatherings it wouldn't be so bad. If we could anticipate when he would be about to talk we'd all be able to take the necessary precautions. What's a piece of saliva or bread coming towards you if its only occasional, and telegraphed. You just duck out of the way or block it with your wrist a la Wonder Woman.
But sadly, this is not the case. Once his mouth opens its like a Tommy gun, peppering all around him like a deluge of hail. I mean, seriously, you better have an umbrella handy.
So over time, I've developed some "methods" or strategies to be able to cope with this grotesque issue:
1) Pick a long or octagonal table and sit as far as you can. In fact, arrive early to the venue (or chances are a seat next to him will be vacant), and should this experienced, professional Spitter be the second one to arrive after you, just make an excuse that you are sick and that he should sit a little farther away. In fact, try as best you can to have someone with a large frame and head sit between you and the spitting cobra.
2) Keep the menu. Even after you've ordered the food, KEEP the Menu. You will need it the same way Captain America needed his shield.
3) If you have the misfortune of sitting either next to or across from the human snowball dispenser, make sure you do all the talking. Do not let him get a word in. Talk. Turn on the motor mouth jets and go full steam ahead. Childhood stories, sports, politics, make sure its a "never-ending story". If that doesn't work, try hypnosis or a lullaby.
4) If you lose out on the tug-of-war, and he starts talking first, make sure you gulp that food down like you've never eaten food before. This is your moment to shine, be the best Fat Bastard you can be and chug it all down before it begins raining, "cats and dogs"
5) Order something cold. Salad, tuna sandwich, heck even a gazpacho soup. You can't afford to wait for your meal to cool down. Time is of the essence, and you my friend, are Jack Bauer. The clock is ticking and the Battle of the Pellets is about to begin. Will you make it out alive?
But, should all this fail, you may want to consider ditching this entire group of friends and get a fresh start. Eat (alone) Pray Love. Why not befriend some Buddhist monks that have taken a vow of silence for a change?