Regular readers will know that my car was in the shop last week. Hours and hours of cleaning – that is never fun. The dashboard and console have been sprayed with alcohol so many times that small plastic parts have cracked and fallen off. As for last week, I didn’t have space to tell the complete story, so here it is.
I made plans to go out to dinner with my father. That’s a good thing, right? The problem is that I made the plans before I realized that I had to get my car in for maintenance. The two events were going to coincide, and due to other circumstances, I couldn’t change either one. I thought I could handle it, after all, I have had decades of experience in practically every situation imaginable, so juggling this should have been a piece of cake. I planned out in my mind how things would go, and I expected everything to take place accordingly.
I went to pick up my car, and I carefully positioned the towel over the seat. After getting situated myself – with my left arm angled so as to keep the seatbelt from lying flat against me – I made the fifteen minute drive to the restaurant. Despite this rather large inconvenience I was experiencing, I was looking forward to dinner. A while back I convinced my father that he should try Indian cuisine. He likes spicy food, and why not try something exotic once in a while? With a little coaxing, he agreed. I am a seasoned veteran when it comes to eating Indian food, so I was anxious to enjoy the meal and share this with my dad.
The plan was going well. My right hand had already been designated as my dirty hand when I got in the car. My left hand was reserved for the usual brushing of hair out of my eyes, and retrieving necessary items from my purse. We had received our first course and our beverages. I had my exotic glass of ice water (well, the straw had that fancy bit of wrapper covering the tip), and Dad had a soda, which, while not authentically Indian, is quite popular in the Indian community. Inching the wrapper tip off the straw with one hand is a little trickier than it seems, especially since I was using my left hand. When I took my first sip, I made the choice to grab the straw with my contaminated right hand (well below the tip, of course). This seemed like a safe decision, as there was no chance that my lips would come into contact with that part of the straw. We were relishing our meal, having good conversation, and, apparently, I let down my guard.
It doesn’t pay to get too relaxed, to have too much of a good time. That’s when mistakes happen. That’s when the fatal error occurred. I reached for the straw with my clean, left hand. The moment my fingers touched it I realized my mistake. I had already contaminated that part of the straw with my right hand, and now three fingers of my left hand were dirty. I had only two clean fingers. What good was that going to do? I was very tense the rest of the dinner. I always sit on the edge of the chair anyway so that my back doesn’t touch it; now I also had to focus on keeping my two fingers clean, just in case it helped something. It turns out that they were useful for dangling my purse on the way out – that was about all.
In the meantime, I was so preoccupied with keeping the two fingers clean, that, although I noticed the waitress bump my straw with her elbow when she brought the next course, I had too many things to remember at one time, and I drank from the straw. Again, the moment my lips touched the straw, I realized my error, but it was too late. Damage done. This meant several rounds with the mouthwash bottle later on.
I arrived home at 7:00. I was finally “clean” at 9:30. What took so long? Ordinarily, a super-wash at the bathroom sink takes around fifteen minutes. For reasons I cannot divulge at this time, I was unable to use the sink for this purpose, so I had to use other methods. I was going to have to use a combination of spraying and wiping to clean my hands and arms all the way up to the elbow – correction, up to my sleeves. I almost wish the weather had been cooler so that I could have worn long sleeves, but it was not to be.
To start, a baggie turned inside out allowed me to pick up the alcohol spray bottle with one hand and spray the other hand. After five sprays, though, I gave up on that because the bottle was in danger of slipping, and then what would I do? I took some wet wipes out of a package using the inside-out baggie method, and used them one-by-one to finish sanitizing my left hand. It’s not easy wiping one hand and attempting not to re-contaminate it with the dirty hand. After forty minutes or so, the left hand was clean, and I starting spraying the right hand. After a similar amount of time, at last I had two usable hands. Then I had to start over with the arms. While waiting for my arms to dry between spraying and wiping, I started sanitizing my car.
And there it is – two-and-a-half hours of OCD-filled fun! And then I got to spend the remainder of the evening and the next day cleaning my car. What a life.