The holidays are a festive time. Wherever one goes, people seem to be in a good mood, and homes and stores are brightly decorated. Perhaps there is even cheery music playing. One does not expect a scene of blood and horror amidst such surroundings, but at times, that is what one gets.
I eat meat in modest quantities, but I do not live for meat, as I have seen in others. One thing I rarely do is buy raw meat. If I do, it has to be double-sealed, and even then I feel somewhat uncomfortable. How was the package handled at the plant? How can I be sure that the outside of the package is not teeming with unseen creatures? There is no such assurance; in fact, all of the food packages in stores are abominably filthy. But at least I can tell myself that most of them don’t have raw meat germs crawling on them.
A related fact that I don’t like to think about is that packages of raw meat pass along the counters and conveyor belts in the stores all day long. That I have to place my groceries on the same surfaces is disturbing, and that is one of the primary reasons that my grocery items are thoroughly disinfected afterwards. So, imagine my disgust the day I saw the customer in front of me haul a turkey dripping with blood onto the counter. Panic filled my body. The store was busy and I was pressed for time. Should I find another line or ask the clerk if he had any disinfectant? I pictured a quick wipe with an already soiled cloth, and the answer was clear – I had to move. I was frazzled as I looked for another line, but there was no alternative. I was so horrified by the incident that I avoided that checking lane for many months. And yet, there is probably blood on every counter, every day.
Not all germophobe infractions are that unsettling, but being inconvenienced and frustrated is a daily occurrence. Take the time that I went to a deli where I could see the person making the sandwich that I had ordered. As she was reaching for the condiments, she leaned against one side of the sandwich with her stained apron. I know some of you would have walked out or asked for a new sandwich, but I was with a friend, and we didn’t have time to go to another restaurant. I reluctantly took my food and paid for it. Not only did I want to avoid a scene in the restaurant, I didn’t want my friend to know that I was distressed, so I made a show of nibbling on the side of the sandwich that hadn’t been contaminated and eventually said that I wasn’t that hungry after all.
Just when you think you’ve seen it all, a new germophobe horror presents itself. But we are up to the challenge!