Maintaining my sanity is not easy. There are many days when I seriously consider becoming the next Howard Hughes. I manage to pull myself out of it by recalling my “Categories” of cleanliness. (Please see “Categories” parts one and two for more details.) I force myself to remember that everything I come into contact with at the supermarket, the office, or any other public place is covered with the vilest of germs, but somehow I have survived for decades. But when I witness the touch of death, becoming a hermit sounds not only appealing but quite reasonable to me.
What is the touch of death? It could be various occurrences, but you know it when you see it. In this case it happened in the restroom at work. (Do I really need to go on?) A woman that I have worked with for many years had very long hair. She almost always kept it in a braid which was long enough for her to sit on. That in itself presented issues, but that was nothing compared to the touch of death. The braid was so long that it hung below the stall wall, and I saw it touching the toilet bowl! This woman seems to be one of the cleaner people in the office; at least she washes her hands. How can my view of her recover from such an incident, though? She undoubtedly had no idea that it happened, and I hope that no one is thinking to themselves that the outside of the toilet bowl was surely clean. There is no such thing! This incident was a few months ago and she has since cut her hair, and I am ever grateful. She and I are not in constant contact at work, but she has been known to drop something off at my desk on occasion.
Life at the office – it’s like a minefield. You never know where the next disgusting thing is going to show up. Those heating bags that are filled with rice or buckwheat are popular in the office. People use them to soothe their aching muscles or just warm up. They place them on various parts of their bodies or put them in their chairs and sit on them. What happens when the heat dissipates? They take them into the break room and shove them in the microwave – that appliance that is intended for heating food. These must be the same people who believe in the five-second rule – you can eat anything off the floor as long as it’s not there for more than five seconds. Some people don’t care what touches their food.
I envy people who get to work from home.