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Monday Sneezes - cellophane
the story of an invisible girl
renniekins
renniekins
Monday Sneezes
I pulled out of my driveway this morning and up to the stop-sign at the end of my road. I slowed down without planning to stop, because nobody is ever coming. Somebody was coming, so I came to a reluctant full stop.

As the man drove by, I saw his head jerk forward once, then again. He was sneezing. "Bless you," I said softly, needlessly, an instinctive response he never heard as he drove off to wherever he was going.

I've been pretty sneezy myself this morning. Each time I sneeze, I pause and listen. More often than not, somebody in cubicle-land will call out, "Bless you!" from afar. I always respond with a "thank you", so I like to make sure I listen carefully so I'll hear it.

I'm always a bit startled when nobody says anything after a sneeze. My "thank you" is all bottled up, ready to be said, but I have no reason to say it.

Such an odd little custom we have, the sneezing ritual....but I like it anyway. I feel a little incomplete without it.
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Comments
cynnerth From: cynnerth Date: April 28th, 2003 09:40 am (UTC) (Link)

in anticipation of your next sneeze...

Bless you!
renniekins From: renniekins Date: April 28th, 2003 10:04 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: in anticipation of your next sneeze...

Thank you!
retepsnave From: retepsnave Date: April 28th, 2003 09:50 am (UTC) (Link)
silly thing about that custom is that while it is world-wide universal (certainly in the predominently christian countries of europe) it has its own twist in each culture...
a friend I knew from Germany used to say "Cheers!" when ever someone sneezed... it was him directly translating the German term they use "Guzuntite" (sorry about my horrific spelling)
it was all quite funny as we all tried to sort out the differences.... the same word they use when quaffing a beer they use for when you sneeze...
almost as odd a tradition as ours, coming from the beleif that your soul trying to escape through your nose and thus possibly leaving your corpreal body vulnerable to being taken over by the demons...
;-)
but... yes oddly enough I have an equally inexplicable expectation of automatically having my sneeze responded to by 'bless-you' and so too need to hesitate my 'thank you' to wait for the actual response from them... ;-)
sort of Pavlovian response...
renniekins From: renniekins Date: April 28th, 2003 10:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Funny, I always thought "Guzuntite" (or however it's spelled) meant God bless.... Maybe I just assumed it, because it's the sneeze-word!

Yes, it's totally Pavlovian, I agree! I cover my mouth, sneeze, then say "thank you". It just feels natural now!
guingel From: guingel Date: April 28th, 2003 01:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not sure what I thought Gesundheit (I think that's the actual spelling) meant, but I went through a little period where I was like "Is it bless you? God bless you? I don't know!" so I didn't say either and replaced it with Gesundheit. . . now I just use it. I think I'm still a little uncomfortable with the whole blessing thing XD (and me and Katie both like the way gesundheit sounds)
hannunvaakuna From: hannunvaakuna Date: April 28th, 2003 01:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
IIRC, gesundheit literally means "good health."
back when i was studying spanish, the proper thing to say after a sneeze was "salud," or the longer version, which was "salud, amor y dinero." salud = health, amor = love, and dinero = moolah.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: April 28th, 2003 03:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
ah! C always claims that the number of sneezes determine what you earn. 1 for health, 2 for love, and 3 for money. It must come from that, somehow....
renniekins From: renniekins Date: April 28th, 2003 03:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Gesundheit is a cool word, yes. I try to remember to say danke schön (thank you) as a response to that, but I don't use it often myself....
joline From: joline Date: April 28th, 2003 06:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
i've always been a person who says "bless you." i even converted roommates to "bless you" people when i was in college. now, i share an office with ScaryLady and she NEVER EVER says it. typical. erg! i don't get it... but then again, i don't get why it means so much to me. hmm.
hoshisabi From: hoshisabi Date: August 8th, 2004 06:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

Sneezes / God Bless You

I've always found it odd that we say God Bless You after a sneeze, but we say nothing after a particularly bad coughing fit. I always felt like you should say something. "Are you all right?" is about the only thing that makes sense, but that always seems somewhat odd. You always wait until they're done coughing to say it, too, at which point it would probably be too late. Truthfully, that's the same way with sneezing.

A coworker of mine (cheri0627) once started coughing particularly bad and I asked her thought and she seemed surprised that I asked if her she was ok. I told her about the whole sneeze thoughts that I had, and she found it funny enough to start laughing mid cough. It caused her to cough so badly that a lady in an office about 4 doors down came to offer her some medicine and cough drops.

Since then I've decided that the one thing you don't really want to do when someone is coughing is to make a joke.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: August 8th, 2004 06:54 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Sneezes / God Bless You

That's an excellent point, yes. I've known some people who do say 'bless you' after a cough, though I don't know whether it's because they thought it was a sneeze or they just are trying to reuse the phrase.

My (19 month) nephew has a cold, so people have been blessing him a lot. I seem to have caught it, and I sneezed last night. From his bedroom piped a little voice, "Bwess ooo!" Too cute.
polaron From: polaron Date: August 8th, 2004 08:05 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Sneezes / God Bless You

One of my coworkers will say every time I cough: "Are you choking ?"

From someone else, that might be endearing, considerate or whatnot. From her ? It's just plain creepy.

Like, does she want me to be choking ?
polaron From: polaron Date: August 8th, 2004 08:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
My coworkers won't say "bless you" after someone sneezes.

Which was hard for me to understand when I started at that job, since I think it's impolite to not do it...and I'm polite by reflex.

Then I realized that they were rude barbarians, and yeah. I now deal with it ;)
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