It's not seasonal allergies
September 20, 2008 6:48 AM Subscribe
On city sidewalks, when strangers pass each other, why do they sniffle? Walking toward each other, we size each other up at a distance of 25 ft, then avert eyes, then 10 ft, then avert eyes and as we pass *sniffle* or quick intake of air through the nose that makes a sound. What does this mean? It seems wholly subconscious. Are we tracking a scent? Are they sticking their nose in the air in an aristocratic air of disapproval? I've noticed this phenomenon, so I consciously avert my sniffling because I don't even know why it happens, or what it means. But now I hear it from passers-by all the time. It's definitely not allergies; it seems very focused.