Last night I played for several hours at Hooters. For most of that time, I had on my right a rather odd duck. He was, shall we say, sensitive.
I first became aware of this when the player to his right--a generally obnoxious pig, to be sure--sneezed directly into his own hands about a dozen times. Mr. Sensitive asked him to go wash his hands before continuing to play. Pig derisively refused. Mr. Sensitive then went to ask the floor guy to make Pig go wash his hands. I could overhear only bits of that conversation, but floor guy said something about that not being a rule that he could enforce. Mr. Sensitive returned, all huffy that his ideas about proper poker-table hygiene were being ignored.
Hey, I'm with him about how gross poker players are. But it's just silly to single out one particular instance of such filth for special attention, while pretending that everything else is all pristine. Almost four years ago I wrote in some detail about how disgusting poker chips, cards, and players are: http://pokergrump.blogspot.com/2007/07/i-think-im-going-to-throw-up.html. Getting one guy to wash his hands one time hardly makes a dent in the load of germs involved, so it doesn't make much sense to get all bent out of shape about it.
The second episode involved me more directly. I had been pretty chatty on Twitter. I was also trying to figure out how to get my new Android phone to do various things, without a lot of success, partly because I had only spotty 3G signal coverage. So, yeah, I had had the thing out and was playing with it a lot more than I usually do. But I never slowed down the game, never failed to notice when it was my turn, and always put it away as soon as I got involved in a hand.
Anyway, after a couple of hours of this, Mr. Sensitive asked me, "What is it you're doing with that?" I told him I was chatting on Twitter with a bunch of friends. He said, kind of snippily, "Well, I'm finding it very distracting."
Mind you, we were in end seats, rotated far enough away from each other that he couldn't see anything on the screen, and the phone was on mute and not emitting even the slightest peep. The thing could have been off with me just pretending to be fiddling with it, and he couldn't have known the difference. This was not a case of something visual on the screen or audible in the air that was bothering him. No, it was just the fact that I was doing something other than watching the poker game--or maybe he had some paranoia that I was writing about him. (I wasn't then, though I am now!)
Again he tried to enlist the floor guy, but the floor guy told him that I wasn't breaking any rules, and cell phones were allowed as long as players didn't slow down the game. In fact, Hooters is the only poker room I know of that actually has a sign posted on the wall prominently announcing "Cell phones OK." (See photo of it here, though they have removed the "Smoking OK" sign since I took that picture.)
As soon as a seat opened up on the far end of the table, he spoke up for it and moved far away from me. I can't know for sure if it was because I was bothering him, but I suspect so.
Can you believe how easily annoyed some people are???