The Kansas City Star - - 913 - BY SHERRY KUEHL Colum­nist

The coro­n­avirus has taught me a lot of things. For ex­am­ple, who knew that af­ter spend­ing five­plus decades on this planet I re­ally didn’t know how to wash my hands. I al­ways con­sid­ered my­self an ex­em­plary hand washer. But come to find out I was, at best, lack­lus­ter.

My prob­lem area, it seems, was in the length of my hand wash­ing. I was a soap and go girl. A hand wash­ing sprinter, if you will, when ap­par­ently I needed to be a marathon run­ner in the hand hy­giene event.

I’m es­ti­mat­ing I spent 10 sec­onds at the sink. Two sec­onds for soap ap­pli­ca­tion, 6 sec­onds for the scrub-a-dub-dub of it all and an­other 2 sec­onds for the dry­ing se­quence. I was shocked to dis­cover that I should have been dou­bling my sink time.

My hand-wash­ing fail­ure so dis­turbed me that I felt com­pelled to do some per­sonal hy­giene math. If you take the av­er­age amount of times a day a per­son washes their hands and com­bine that with my years on Earth I have washed my hands in­cor­rectly more than 150,000 times.

The shame is real, my friends.

I fur­thered grossed my­self out with the re­al­iza­tion my now 20-sec­ond washed hands can’t stay off my face. Like, I lit­er­ally can’t stop touch­ing my face. I blame this on the fact that I’m also a handtalker.

Yes, I’m one of those peo­ple who uses her hands a lot while talk­ing, and one of the char­ac­ter­is­tics of be­ing a hand talker is that you’re also a se­rial face toucher.

I cer­tainly knew I was a hand-talker be­cause it’s a ge­netic trait. There’s not one per­son I’m re­lated to who doesn’t love the added con­ver­sa­tion oomph of us­ing those hands to fur­ther com­mu­nica­tive abil­ity.

A con­ver­sa­tion with­out us­ing your hands is like toast with­out but­ter: to­tally lack­ing in any real fla­vor sat­is­fac­tion. Un­for­tu­nately, those hands also like land­ing on the face.

Yes­ter­day I counted my­self touch­ing my face 13 times in less than 30 min­utes and this was when I was earnestly try­ing to not touch my face. Never mind that I was home alone and the only per­son I was talk­ing to was my­self.

An­other les­son that has be­come ap­par­ent is one that thank­fully is not about my per­sonal fail­ings but in­stead is a shout-out to my Grandma Stella. Be­cause of this wo­man’s great­ness I was a bleach war­rior be­fore it was manda­tory.

Yes, while ev­ery­one was scram­bling to buy dis­in­fec­tants I had three gal­lons of bleach in my laun­dry room be­cause I heart bleach. I even have

“bleach clothes” that I wear when do­ing house­work be­cause as any good bleach afi­cionado will tell you, things aren’t clean un­less they’re bleach clean.

This I learned from Grandma Stella, who should go down in his­tory as the world’s most com­pul­sive cleaner. As a young child I would fol­low her from room to room as she would use bleach and a tooth­brush to clean ev­ery sur­face of her home.

This won­der­ful wo­man taught me the power of Clorox, and thanks to her I never fell prey to all those smell-good clean­ers that were low on sodium hypochlo­rite and high on es­sen­tial oils.

Hmm, based on this mem­ory, maybe that hy­giene math I did ear­lier is wrong. Be­cause if I’ve had my hands basted in bleach while I’ve done thou­sands upon thou­sands of hours of house­work this means that my hands have been a lot cleaner than I’ve thought.

Yes, let’s go with that. Now I feel a lot bet­ter, which is a good thing be­cause I just touched my face — again.

Reach Sherry Kuehl at snarkyinth­e­sub­[email protected] gmail.com, on Face­book at Snarky in the Sub­urbs, on Twit­ter at @snarkyn sub­urbs on In­sta­gram @snarky.in.the.sub­urbs, and snarkyinth­e­sub­urbs.com

COUR­TESY PHOTO The proper way to wash hands? Not in a group, for starters.

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