He looks like the archetypal British tourist abroad. He is either anorak clad or sporting a fleece. He has the most enormous rucksack I have ever encountered. He is allergic to everything. And I mean everything - it is non-stop sneezes, sniffles, deafening nose-blowing, and throat-clearing. He is an expert on ancient battles, talking about armour, tactics, weaponry in excrutiating detail. And I drew the short straw today and had to sit next to him.
Few people actually make me physically shudder, but the Phlegm Dislodger (as he shall be referred to) invokes this reaction effortlessly. His leg, usually in some shapeless tracksuit bottoms or multi-pocketed combats, nudges right up close and shakes in a way that conjures thoughts of things I would rather leave unconjured. Dirty old man or sexually frustrated adolescent....yuk just doesn't cover it. He leans over close and breathes in my face as he asks me which source we're looking at or which page we're on. Spine chilling. At Christmas we were going to watch a video at the suggestion of the teacher, but the Phlegm Dislodger said loudly and firmly 'Am I the ONLY person here who actually wants to pass my exams?' Yes, yes you are, because the rest of us all want to fail miserably of course. So we spent the lesson working half-heartedly, with him to blame and the incident never being forgotten. Also, he knows Suetonius inside out and back to front, which should always raise suspicion and denotes an unsound mind.
Today a new revelation was made. He commented, in a series of distracted mutters, that a member of our class who was being rather vocal at the time should be 'tied up, gagged, thrown out the room and left there'. Charming. When this remark came to light there was uproar from the victim which resulted in the Phlegm Dislodger attempting sounds akin to chucklesome mirth and saying 'Sorry, I apologise for thinking nasty thoughts about you.'
I dread to think what goes in his mind. I bet he sits there in his disconcerting fidgety way running unsavoury thoughts through his brain about each and every one of us.
I understand that he's a bit of a loner and that often he's just wanting some social contact, but I can't help feeling a bit uneasy when he comes up and tells me that 'you look very nice today by the way, have you done something different? I really like you're scarf, I like scarves'. Or when he sees I'm doing ancient history on the computer and asks if I need any assistance, like he's the world expert on the subject despite getting crap results last year. I realise I should be a better human being and answer his cry out for a friend. But he kind of gives me the creeps. There, I said it. Bad person.
But somebody should not make you be a little bit sick in your mouth when they come too close.