An Open Letter to the Man Clipping His Fingernails in Starbucks

April 29, 2010

Dear Sir,

I notice you are clipping your fingernails in the middle of Starbucks. Nice. I’m curious, though: where do you think those fingernails are going? Do you think they are falling down some drainpipe where they will never be seen again? Do you think they cease to be fingernails when you separate them from your hand? Or maybe you think we haven’t noticed: that we can’t hear that shrill click, click, click, or that we haven’t traced it back to you, sitting there, in the very center of the store.

I’m watching your fingernails—yes, they continue to be fingernails—right now, as they fall to the floor. The mere connection, tile to tile, of your fingernails to my feet makes my skin curl.

You keep going. Click…Click…Click. The whole store is watching you, meeting eyes with each other and then glancing back at you. But you’re focused. You have no idea. And why should you? What your doing is nothing out of the ordinary, right? Clipping nails: no big deal? Right?

And that’s why I’ve taken the time to write this letter. Because it is a big deal. I’ve wasted $2.22 on a coffee that I can no longer drink because I keep picturing your fingernails floating in it. It’s the single grossest mental image I’ve had this week.

Here’s a good general rule for you to follow: keep all parts of your body intact while in public. Any trimming, clipping, shaving, or removing should be saved for what I’ll call: “private time.” And let me be clear: “Private Time” involves a closed door, a trashcan, and the complete absence of myself.

Sincerely,

M

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