Duck Germophobia

Germs, germs! Run for your life! No, wait. They are good for you. You will die if you eat, breathe, or touch anything. Your immune system needs germs to become stronger.

Confused yet? Welcome to my world.

The messages from the medical community and the media make me want to put myself in a plastic bubble. Well, the BPA from the plastic would kill me. I have never heard so many people present so many contradictory arguments regarding a seemingly simple topic in my life.

I came across an article about this particular subject in regard to cruise ships. The title did not indicate which way the author would lean. I jumped in. After all, I had always wanted to cruise until the bombardment of NOROVIRUS hysteria. The author boasted about her cruising expertise and enthusiasm. She then proceeded to give an elaborate list of sanitary precautions she takes to avoid getting sick. Let me tell you, from the “don’t touch anything” to “wipe everything” to “drink Purell,” I imagine that her cruising time becomes dominated by all of her cleansing protocols. Don’t even get me started about her rant about the buffets.  So, I think I will stick to hotels and airplanes. Oh, duck!

I used to be afraid of flying on an airplane due to the possibility of plummeting to the ground at rapid speeds to meet an instant death in a ball of flames. Good news! That fear does not plague me as much when I board a plane. Now, my panic attack starts in the gate where everyone sitting, waiting to board the plane. I look around. I analyze the population. The old man who can’t stop rubbing his furry nostrils catches my eye. The little kids with boogers flowing out of every facial orifice make me twinge. The teenager coughing up a lung into her baggy sweatshirt is causing small earthquakes in the area. I notice all of them. ALL OF THEM. I then start to consider who may be sitting next to me on the flight. OK, remember what you read in the 8 million articles about the germs on planes. Board the plane. Try to make your way to your seat, in the back of the plane (safest supposedly?), try to sit by the window or aisle (less people next to you), turn off the air vent above, wipe down tray and arm rests with alcohol wipes. Then, when all of that is done, just pray to the Flying Spaghetti Monster that you have done enough to avoid the Plague.

When you arrive at your destination, wash your clothes in the hottest water and shower. Clean very well, but definitely don’t use anti-bacterial soap. It will kill the abundance of deathly bacteria covering you from head to toe….but, it will apparently kill you in the process. Germs are good! Germs are bad! Are you keeping up? Good. Me neither. Maybe I will stick to road trips and hotels. Crap!

As soon as you arrive at your hotel, take a deep breath and begin to relax…just don’t forget about the critters. What critters, you ask? The bugs. The BED BUGS!!!! Don’t put your suitcase down on the bed or floor. So, you know when you walk into your lovely hotel room and notice the extremely useful desk that you could use for an abundance of purposes? Nope. That, my friend, is your luggage rack. Now, don’t freak out. You just need to examine the sheets, and get ready for a restful night of paranoia that bugs are crawling all over you. When your night of blissful slumber comes to a conclusion, get ready for that amazingly hot, rejuvenating shower. STOP! Examine your whole body, paying close attention to any tracks of bug bites that tend to create some semblance of a line. Is it there? You may now shit your pants. Your life has come to an end. I could go into what has to happen after that, but you have Google for that. Put it this way, your family should expect you back wrapped in a plastic garbage bag with no belongings. 

You seriously don’t want to know what goes on when the hotel is actually “cleaning” your room. Drinking glass, anyone? Hell no.  Walk around barefoot? Are you ducking nuts?

Appreciate the germs. They keep our immune system healthy. Wipe the shopping carts with the provided wipes at the entrance to the store. Your phone and kitchen sponge have more germs on them than a public toilet. Clean those. No, don’t clean them. Just throw them away. While you are at it, clean your own toilet, too. Send your kids to schools filled with germs…have no fear, they will be totally fine!

When you use a public restroom, enter at your own risk. Personally, I carry a hazardous materials suit designed to keep Anthrax out. Don’t touch ANYTHING! Use your super power that gives you the ability to travel through walls and doors. HOVER! Don’t hover. Hover! Ok, a recent article…I told you I read useful stuff (eye roll warranted)…that argued the pros and cons of hovering in the restroom. Some women were like, “Oh my GOD, I will never place my precious ass on a public toilet seat.” Other women said, “If everyone would just sit, nobody would spray! It would be so much cleaner.” I don’t think we can rely on an entire gender to follow one particular protocol. Have you ever tried to line the seat with the seat protectors or with toilet paper? Disaster. They either fall in the toilet, on the floor, or don’t fully cover the seat. Duck that. The best is when you walk in the stall and notice that the toilet paper is already dragging on the floor. That becomes a huge, no-win situation. So, I hover dammit! Consider it quality exercise for your quads, plus I think there is a yoga pose called “Downward Hoo-Ha.” Add in the karate kick to flush, and you have completed a full workout. I mastered this while pregnant, on crutches, in stalls the size of a phone booth, etc. At least once a week, I manage this on ROLLER SKATES! You can do it! Then yes, I feel obligated to wipe away any spray along with the spray remaining from the five other people that sprayed before me. You are welcome. If you choose to sit, it is your prerogative and your dirty ass. Oh, and if it is one of the automatic flushing, super-charged, tornado toilets…you are screwed no matter what. You are just lathered in fecal matter. 

Oh, were you looking for a point? Nah. Nope. Nada. I am just dragging you into my insanity.

Go hang out in the bathroom, on a cruise ship that you flew to get to, while talking on your phone, after eating everything off of a buffet. Life is too short. I think. Duck it.

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