A POOR HAND WASHER AND FACE TOUCHER, I’M REDEEMED BY GRANDMA’S LOVE OF BLEACH
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.