It’s Best to Claim Your Bodily Functions

Filed under good times at everyone else's expense, my uber-confrontational personality, why i'm better than everyone else

Nearly every single restaurant in NYC delivers for free, which means that on Saturdays and Sundays, Dr. Boyfriend and I pretty much refuse to leave his apartment and secretly have disdain for friends who attempt to coax us out. So last weekend, we were heading downstairs to pick up our delivered Thai food in his building’s lobby when the elevator stopped at a lower floor. Just as the doors opened, the young Asian man waiting outside let out a very audible burp.

He didn’t excuse himself or anything, so I said, “We heard that!” Because, you know, it’s not like I could pretend it didn’t happen. He just continued to stare at the door and didn’t acknowledge me in any way.

When he rushed out at the ground floor, Kamran held me back for a moment and asked me incredulously, “How could you embarrass me like that?!” I was shocked. Embarrass him? He wasn’t the one to hardcore burp and then just casually slip into the elevator like the reeking fumes of his body gas weren’t surrounding us all.

I thought that acknowledging the burp would actually lighten the mood. When someone calls you out on something, it gives you a chance to turn the joke back around on yourself, right? And it’s not like we caught him raping a cat or something here. It was a burp!

So who’s right here–Kamran or me?


  1. Um. Kamram is right.

    Geez Katie… I keep forgetting that you’re not a NY’er! We say excuse me for burping on the Upper West Side (it tends to scare the older than dirt, ultra rich, million dollar apartment with a doorman having people) or in a crowd.

    You and Kamram are a group, not a crowd so you were in violation and were indeed embarrassing.
    But I have hope for you, eventually I think that you’ll get what Billy Joel calls a NY State of Mind.

    You haven’t been making any progress in your NY State of Mind…mostly because you visit Ohio frequently and still talk to friends back home.

    To help you out print out the following and place it in your purse before you go out.

    Cheat sheet for saying excuse me for bodily functions:

    1) Are you in A Crowd?
    2) Are there any little old ladies nearby?
    3) Are your parents around?
    4) Are you not in New York City or surrounding Boroughs?

    If the answer is yes to any of these questions then your ass better have an excuse me ready!!

    • Kamran lives in Tudor City! It’s the land of little old ladies and dogs that are actually named Tudor. If that’s not the place for an “excuse me”, I don’t know what is. Even if there weren’t any around at that exact moment, you know they’re listening through their doors.

  2. Todd says:

    You. ‘Cause that’s how we roll in the Cowtown.

  3. Serial says:

    He’s more wrong than you are.

    I could see him disagreeing with your decision to call the guy out (but I think it’s almost always fun to call people out. I admonish children I don’t know for running in grocery stores largely because they look so horrified when an adult they don’t know corrects them), but I don’t see why it’s an embarrassment to him that you did it.

    • Kam says:

      Just for the record, I said it facetiously. Carry on.

    • There’s nothing worse than calling someone out and having them not be horrified by it, though. I hate it when I politely scold old ladies for not washing their hands in the restroom, and they keep on walking out the door instead of turning around, apologizing, and thanking me for my hygiene tips.

  4. Mark says:

    “He just continued to stare at the door and didn’t acknowledge me in any way.”


    “So who’s right here–Kamran or me?”


    The correct answer to your closing question is “LOL.”

    Not everyone knows how to react to “we heard that” in some witty, self-deprecating way. So, I mean, I guess you read that guy wrong is the answer, ’cause he obviously didn’t react the way you expected he would. But in terms of feeling embarrassed, I believe the correct answer is something like “Psshaw.” (Is that how you spell that?)

    (I feel bad making other people do all that work to bring food to me when I could just as easily bring me to food, but I suppose this convenience thing is what drives economies & in the end, you’re giving the delivery guy a job by ordering from his place more often, so my “feeling bad” priorities are all misplaced.)

    • Keep up with me or get the hell out of my elevator?

      I’m fine with the block-long trek to every foodstuff known to man, but Kamran’s a busy man with patent applications to write and constitutional law reading to finish. And naturally I’m not bringing him his food. Does it horrify you more that we have our meals delivered or that he literally hasn’t cooked anything in his kitchen in more than a year?

      • Mark says:

        I mean, my roommate gets stuff delivered like two or three times a week usually. And I cook basically everything now, but when I was busy busy, I cooked nothing. I can empathize with the various situations.

  5. Kelly says:

    I probably would have said something like, “WEAK”, but that’s just because I like to brag that I can out-burp everyone I know.

    Which is, of course, not exactly true. I can, however, out-burp most of the people I know.

    • See? That’s totally hot. All he had to do was get an inch away from my face and blow his stank-breath burp all over me, and I would’ve given him all my respect.

  6. i’ll avoid taking sides and just offer this up: maybe the guy didn’t speak english or realize you were speaking to him?

  7. Tracey says:

    I’m still wondering what the burping man’s Asian-ness has to do with the story. Or if it plays any role whatsoever.

    And you know I would be rather embarrassed if you called out one my neighbors on their rudeness. Because it would be awful to have to run into them again and be remembered for the incident.

    • I think race plays an important part in personality. Just like age does. And class.

      I struggle with mentioning race, though, because that means that when I don’t mention it, I’m assuming everyone will know that white is the default. When I read an Asian person’s blog, though, or a black person’s blog, I assume that the default is their race; that doesn’t bother me, so I’m not sure it would bother anyone else that white is my default. I’m interested in your thoughts, though, of course, especially if they involve use of the phrase “white privilege”.

      Luckily, even after spending so much time here for nearly three years, there are only about ten people in Kamran’s building who I ever recognize, and I’m not sure I know a single one of their names.

      • Tracey says:

        Yeah, the white as default thing was definitely my thinking. It’s a shame that white can’t just be YOUR default, or MY default, because white privilege means it’s so often THE default.

        I wasn’t trying to call you out on anything for bringing it up, though. I really was hoping his being Asian mattered to the story somehow.

        • Tracey says:

          Oooh, and what about able-bodied privilege? Like, what if the burping guy was deaf and actually had no idea his burp made a noise and therefore felt no need to say “excuse me”?