Chocolate. I had chocolate on my mind. I had been to a store three days before, and on a whim, I tried a chocolate bar that was on clearance. It was divine. I had to go back to see if there were any left. But my quest for a little bit of bliss was going to be interrupted.
My first clue that something was wrong came in the form of the quick blast of a siren. I looked in my rear view mirror and saw flashing lights. Oh, great. There must be an emergency, I thought. I’m going to have to get out of the way. I couldn’t easily pull over to the right, and my destination left turn lane was so close that I traveled for a few seconds and maneuvered into it. And the flashing lights pulled in behind me. I was certain I hadn’t done anything wrong, but I knew I had to pull over to let the police car by. When the traffic signal changed to green, that’s what I did. And again he pulled up behind me. Tears formed in my eyes because, even if it was nothing major, it could not end well for me. The reason for the stop? My car had a burnt-out headlight. So, it wasn’t anything major, for the policeman – just a routine stop – but for me, things were about to get hairy.
He asked for the required documents. My proof of insurance was already contaminated, so the moment I touched it, my right hand was dirty. Not that it mattered, because the officer took all three documents and carried them back to his nasty police car. That police car was teeming with the germs of countless filthy criminals, and I don’t want to imagine what else. I sat there waiting for five minutes – immobilized by my tainted hand – then he brought back the ultra-soiled documents. My hand was about to go from dirty to ultra-soiled as well. He placed his notepad and pen on the passenger’s seat so that I could sign the ticket, which I did. He instructed me as to what I needed to do next and left.
There I was with my violated hand. But what about my chocolate bars? I knew there weren’t many left – if any at all – so would I have to sacrifice them because of my episode with the police? No, they were too good to give up. I was going to have to take a risk and go look for the candy, while trying not to spread the contamination.
I arrived at the store and found, to my dismay, that my chocolate was gone. I had waited too long. I resigned myself to leaving without the candy, but I threw a few things in the shopping cart and went to check out. The clerk asked how I was doing, and I told her that I was fine but disappointed, and I told her my candy woes. Then there was a glimmer of hope. She asked, “Could this be it?” She walked over to a nearby cart, and picked up some chocolate bars. She brought back the beautiful wrappers I was looking for. There had been only two left, so they made room on the grocery shelf for other products. But there was conflict. I yearned for the bars, but she had retrieved them from the child seat area of the cart, the dirtiest part! As if the ticket incident wasn’t enough, was my entire grocery order going to be contaminated also? Should I tell her I didn’t want them after all? That wouldn’t help, because she had already touched the candy and would spread the terms to my items anyway, so I told her I would take them.
I was on OCD overload. I could touch clean objects with my left hand only, so would I use my ultra-dirty right hand to handle the groceries? No, they weren’t quite in that category of filth. So what would I do? I had to relent to the pressure and consign the groceries to a lesser degree of contamination than they deserved. I decided that they could be cleaned with wet wipes, but I wasn’t comfortable with it.
When I got home, my right hand received a one-handed super-wash, and the groceries were wiped down twice. Thank goodness I had some luscious chocolate to soothe my frazzled nerves.