Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What? Me Worry?

There is a volcano in Iceland spewing volcanic ash into the air and making it difficult for people to travel around the world. "Eyjafjallajökull" looks more like the letters I've been getting in Scrabble lately...and I don't even want to think about trying to pronounce it...but as someone who will soon have to fly over its air space on our way to Helsinki, I've now added "volcanic ash" as something I must worry about.

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There are many things to worry about, everything from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to the plight of women and children in various African countries, to why Ned is so terribly obsessed with Ryan Seacrest. Such a scary world.

Television shows seem determined to make life scarier for us. If it weren't for The Today Show, for example, I wouldn't know that on every bedspread in every hotel, from Motel 6 to expensive hotels, you can find traces of semen, because they don't change them very often. Ewww. Who wants to sit on a bed in a hotel?

I also wouldn't know about the "splash back" effect in bathrooms which pretty much ensures that every toothbrush in the house has some bit of excrement imbedded in it from toilet spray while flushing. I don't know about you, but I've been brushing my teeth for about 65 years now so I have probably injested a lot of excrement and I'd just as soon not think about that, thankyouverymuch. I seem to have survived, so why do I need to know about it?

I've also shopped in grocery stores on a regular basis since I moved out of the family home in 1961. I have moved thousands of grocery carts through hundreds of grocery stores without ever thinking about who touched the handle before me. Now I can't go shopping without imagining some kid slobbering on the handle or somebody coughing into her hands and then putting it on the handle. Did I really need to know this after all these years?

Ironically, I'm so cavalier about toothbrushes and grocery carts, but my grandmother taught me from an early age that public bathrooms were filthy places and I should never ever touch the handle on a public toilet. I had it so firmly imbedded in my brain for so long that I automatically flush a toilet in a public restroom with my foot instead of my hands and have done so since I was a small child. When Jeri heard that she said "Swell, now when I go to flush, I have to think about the fact that maybe somebody's shoe was on the handle."

I always came home from from running errands and put my purse on the kitchen counter, until I heard on TV someone who pointed out that your purse is filthy, that it may have been on the ground where dogs peed, or where people who stepped in places where dogs peed walked. Heck, in this house I might actually put it in dog pee from time to time. So where does one now put a purse safely?

We've all heard the "5 second rule" about food that is dropped on the floor. Seemed to make sense to me. If you pick it up within 5 seconds, it doesn't have time to collect all those horrible things that might be on the floor. Not so, says The Today Show (I've gotta stop watching TheToday Show) in a laboratory test that showed exactly how much bad stuff a bit of food can pick up in the 5 seconds it takes you to bend over to retrieve it.

Now I find out that toilet paper can actually leave bits behind on your behind after you wipe.

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Who knew? I mean you go to the bathroom, you do your business, you wipe carefully in front-to-back motion, you flush the toilet with your foot and you remember to wash your hands before you leave and who knew that you might be suffering the embarrassment of toilet-paper butt?

I'll tell ya, folks, there are just too many things to worry about these days. It's enough to make you hide--but where is a safe place, free from excrement splash or dog pee or bath tissue residue?

(Do you suppose the people under fire in Afghanistan worry about running out of Purell hand sanitzer?)


Mary Z said...

Loved all the warnings - but, we're headed TO Iceland in July. When are you headed to Russia?

harrietv said...

My favorite supermarket (not because of this) provides Purell at the cart area as well as wipes so you can clean the handle and maybe the baby seat. (My daughter-in-law has a liner for the baby seat in grocery carts, so the baby doesn't have to sit where some other kid might have.... You know.)

Most of those other warnings just go by me. I do not (knock wood) get infections very often.

Bev Sykes said...

Mary--we're going to Russia in June. First to Finland for 3 days, then train to St. Petersburg for 3 days, a river boat from St. Petersburg to Moscow, 3 days in Moscow and then home again.