Saturday, September 12, 2009

I Used to be Normal

I've seen it slowly coming. I've even fought it "tooth and nail". I've argued with my husband over it. I've rebelled against it. I've scoffed at it and I've even made fun of other people because of it. And now...I am it. I have officially declared myself a germ-a-phobe. It pains me to admit this, because life used to be simple before it took over my life. Remember the days before everything under the sun became"anti-bacterial"? Maybe you're in this new generation of naturally born germ-a-phobes where you've never known anything different. But no, I had to become evolve into one. How could I not? Every day a news article is written about germs or a Dateline Special Edition is all about germs. Germs are taking over the world! How can we possibly survive against them?

Let's go back - when my children were born, I was the normal mother who washed the pacifier if it dropped on the floor. I sterilized and sanitized their little world, but not obsessively. My husband on the other hand, was more concerned with the germs of the world. He drove me nuts sometimes over things that were "dirty". He would bring up the silliest notions and I would just laugh at how absurd they were. Simple little things - using his elbow to push open a door, a napkin or paper towel to grasp a doorknob, stressing over the cleanliness of a hotel room. At first I was not on board with such ridiculous behaviors. But, the more he brought up these things, and the more I saw on TV and in news articles, the more I began to think about them too. The "EEEWW" factor began to creep into my thoughts and I found myself thinking like a true germ-a-phobe. How about you? Do you use those "anti-bacterial" wipes in Walmart for your shopping cart? Do you have a portable high chair cover for your child? A portable shopping cart seat cover? Are you a germ-a-phobe???

Let's see if you have ever thought about any of the following scenarios. WARNING: What you are about to read could change your life forever.

Let's begin with something simple....public restrooms.

1. Person uses the restroom. They turn on the faucet, wash their hands, turn off the faucet that they just used their dirty hand to turn on, get their paper towel, dry, leave. Now, you use the restroom, turn on the same faucet they did with their dirty hands, wash your hands, turn off the faucet with the dirty germs still on it, adding yours to it, and so on....get the picture? Modern restrooms are catching on. They have automatic faucets and towel dispensers, either no door or a door that pushes out so you don't have to touch the handle to get out. Or, they place trash cans right beside the door, so you can use that paper towel on the handle and throw it in the trash instead of on the floor. (which is why they moved the trash can over there...tired of picking up paper towels off the floor)

2. I do hope you are not one who sits their purse on the floor of a public restroom. Or one who uses their hands to flush. YUK! Did you know that when a toilet flushes, it spews little minuscule particles into the air that reach as far as 6-8 ft.? That's even gross in your own bathroom. Hide that toothbrush girls! Don't leave it out in a holder! And for goodness sake, learn to flush and run!

Let's move on to doorknobs - now this is just nasty...not trying to be gross, just honest. And you can thank my husband for this one. I never would have come up with it on my own.

3. When men use the restroom, they must aim right? How do they aim? With their hand. Suppose they don't wash their hands? They walk around handling all kinds of things, including doorknobs. Then you come along and innocently handle them too. Or they push a buggy around in the store...the same one you're using. Ever thought about how many times you are indirectly touching a...well, you know? (sorry, I know that is yucky, but if you think about it, it's true!) That's not even considering the other multitude of germs lurking on these surfaces.

My favorite - hotels. (graphic and gross, but certainly true)

4. I have witnessed this with my own eyes. Did you know the housekeeper mops the bathroom floor with toilet water? Think about that. Let it soak in. You walk around on that floor, usually barefooted. When housekeeping comes along the hallway with their cleaning carts, have you ever seen a mop bucket with them? I promise you, this is how they mop the floor. Do they change rags after cleaning the toilet, tub and on to the counter top? How about those glass cups and glasses? Saw a nasty hidden video series on that one. (thanks Dateline) You don't want to know.

5. Let's think about the TV remote and the phone. Know what goes on in most hotel rooms? They don't offer adult movies for nothing, you know. Just because you don't watch them, doesn't mean the thousands of other people who stayed in that room don't. So, these same guests handle the remote, the phone, the faucets, etc. Do you really think the housekeeper wipes the remote and the phone down with disinfectant? Have they ever cleaned a doorknob? What's the first thing your kids want to do when they enter the room? Turn on the TV!

6. Here's a fun one - the shower. How many times have you been taking a shower and the curtain brushes up against you? Think that only happens to you? Has the tub ever backed up and you're standing ankle deep in everyone else's drainage?

(Are you hating me yet?)

See???? Once your mind starts going won't stop! The list goes on and on, but I'm going to stop here and leave the rest up to you. But beware - your imagination can get the best of you.

Here's what I've decided. I will do my best to use "anti-bacterial" wipes, spray, etc., when possible. But the truth of the matter is - germs are everywhere. They always have been. You cannot escape them and live in a sterile world. Yes, I am now more aware of some of the "quirkier" things than I used to be, but I will not fall victim to being a prisoner in my own world! I will overcome this obsession!

For example, just last week, I was in the airport going through security. You now must take off your shoes and place them in the little gray plastic baskets...along with your purse, bags, whatever you are carrying. ( purse is now sitting where someone else's filthy shoes have been sitting? STOP IT!!!) They usually have disposable booties available so you don't have to walk barefoot through the check zone, and then put your dirty feet back into your shoes. This day, they were out. Everyone else was walking around barefoot without a care in the world. See, if they can do it, so can I. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...But wait! Lo and Behold...they had little zip lock bags for your personal items. VOILA! See how well I am doing???

No Dirty Feet For Me!
Zip lock Feet
God save the germ-a-phobes!

1 comment:

  1. I must admit that I am also a germ-a-phobe...not quite as bad as you and dad...but yes...I have the OCD that has been passed on to me! Yeah for me! Just something else to add to my list of things in my world that I don't necessarily enjoy!


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