Sunday, February 22, 2009

Okay, I AM the Handwashing Nazi. What of it?

Posted in Pursuit of Happiness tagged , , , , at 7:45 pm by Elaine Petrowski

The most basic form of disease prevention. So why do so many skip it?

The most basic form of disease prevention. So why do so many skip it?

As long as we’re on the subject of germ phobias and hygiene, what about handwashing? What’s with the totally D-I-S-G-U-S-T-I-N-G  one- out-of- three (!) grown MEN and WOMEN who do NOT wash their hands after using the restroom? Where did they grow up?

They are the reason I haven’t had an Altoid since 1999.

That year I had a charming colleague who liked to rib me about my ritual of ditching into the office ladies room to wash my hands before and after eating lunch. When I confessed a certain level of “phobia” for clean hands, he spontaneously volunteered  to share with me which of the men on staff did NOT make use of the sink and soap in the men’s room. When I protested that was “too much information” he grinned, winked at me and whispered, “Just don’t take any of those peppermints they pass around at the staff meetings.”

I’m ruthless when it comes to this topic. I once reported a waitress to the manager at a famous seafood restaurant at the Jersey Shore who came into the restroom, did her business, and then left, without even faking it and running the water. (She didn’t know I was there. But I saw her uniform swish out the restroom door.)

Just about a year ago now I allowed a promising, just budding friendship with someone I really liked… a lot… to whither away because she skipped this basic sanitary step the first time we went to lunch together. All I could think of was the cup of coffee she’d made for me at her house a week before.

Any two-year-old kid can learn this. Doctors and nurses live by this (please gawd?) There is a sign in every restroom warning the employees to do it.  Montessori teachers teach it. So do kindergarten teachers.

So, what’s with the 1 in 3 ADULTS who does not wash his/her hands? Didn’t their MOTHERS TELL THEM UMP-TEEN TIMES, TO WASH THEIR HANDS after using the toilet? WHAT are they thinking? That they are still defying MOM?

Have you ever “called out” anyone over the age of six, who “forgot” to wash his/her hands?

Is there (does there need to be???)  a polite way to request this small act of self-care from the humans you live and work with?

And if  YOU don’t wash your hands after using the facilities, can you please explain WHY?

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3 Comments »

  1. Linda said,

    Hey, was the co-worker who told you not to eat from the candy dish Don Berry? LOL It sounds like him. And I’m imagining our esteemed editor as the guilty party in question. 😉

  2. Maybe that should become the 11th commandment?

    “Thou shalt not eat group snacks.”

    another reason to skip the donuts!

  3. Elzy said,

    I used to work with a guy who was quite open about not washing his hands in the restroom, saying his … ahem … *body* … was not dirty. A woman in the same office told me she never got into the habit: She had to be quick because she grew up in a house where four people actually had to share a single bathroom. (That didn’t seem like such an onerous ratio.)

    I never dipped into the snack dishes in that office.


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