Too long for Twitter, the first in an occasional series.

Target in Australia sell a small range of useful personal items; makeup sponges, cotton buds, packets of spectacle cleaning cloths. They have a nice simple design and in the case of their handbag sized packs of ten tissues, a cute name:  A tissue for your sniffle issues.

These tissue packs they sell singly or in packs of 12. They are ridiculously cheap too; a pack of twelve costs a whole $2.

I buy the 12 pack and keep a pack in my handbag. Sometimes they come in handy as a napkin if I’m eating and not in a restaurant, or if I go to a public loo that is completely lacking in loo paper; that sort of thing.

(Quick sidebar note: a number of Asian countries do not have toilet paper in public loos so these handbag packs are perfect for that. Don’t buy the Target ones; just buy some random brand when you get there. A chemist, roadside stall or 7/11 will sell them.)

The best time to have them however, is on public transport. I am a huge advocate for public transport. The amount of cars it takes off the road is massive and the cost to passengers is relatively low, particularly in relation to the cost of city parking and general wear and tear on your vehicle. The convenience of being able to read on my commute to work is so very welcome.

There is a social compact on public transport. You can sit there and read and pretend you are in your own personal bubble. You can listen to music and ignore everyone else in the bus or carriage without appearing rude. For introverts like me this is glorious.

What I’ve never been able to do is ignore the sniffers. The people who conciously or unconsciously gently sniff their nose instead of giving it one good solid blow. Most of the time it’s because they don’t have a tissue, but sometimes they don’t even realise that they are doing it. You sit there, on tenterhooks, waiting for the next bloody sniff. And it happens all year round, not just in winter.

But if you’ve got these incredibly cheap 10 pack of tissues in your handbag you can offer the sniffer a tissue (or the whole packet!) which fixes their problem and yours. Give it to them with a smile and you look like a pleasant friendly public transport neighbour all the while thinking “If you don’t bloody stop sniffing I’ve going to stab you in the face.”

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