Like many others I listened with amusement at Idaho Senator Larry Craig’s explanation for what happened in the men’s room at the airport in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was Mr. Craig’s contention that the foot play between the stalls and the hand play under the stall dividers was just an accident of happenstance. Mr. Craig claims that he was so oblivious to what happens in the men’s room that he didn’t realize his foot was hitting the cop’s foot in the stall next to him because of his extra wide stance. That would be quite a feat if he was sitting on the toilet with his trousers down around his ankles.
I’m sorry but when I go inside the men’s room I’m so aware of my person that an accidental brush of a foot is an utter impossibility. I don’t make eye contact. I’m not there to make friends. And I don’t go in there to socialize with other males. The last thing I want to do is come out the men’s room with someone else looking like the overly friendly and exceptionally close men in a Flomax commercial who usually emerge from the bathroom all smiles and patting each other on the back. I don’t know any guy that I want to be so close to. When I’m out socializing, I don’t look around and ask do any other men in want to go to the men’s room with me. I honestly don’t know how women can do it.
I don’t even want to touch the door handle in the men’s room. I’ve seen too many men walk in, do their business, and walkout again as if they just walked in and out of a hotel lobby. And what’s just as bad is the guy who walks over to the faucet, runs water on his hands for about a quarter of a second, turns the faucet off, grabs a paper towel, and then grabs that door handle without a care in the world.
My routine is to enter the men’s room with the single purpose of doing my business and emerging as germ free as possible. We can talk as long as you want outside. But the men’s room is no place for a friendly conversation. I’ll make a beeline to the urinal or the toilet, do my business, and then a second beeline to the faucet. I’ll turn on the faucet, three squirts from the soap dispenser, and wash my hands thoroughly and completely. I’ll head over to the paper towels and grab three of them. I’ll dry my hands thoroughly and completely and then use the towels to turn off the faucet and then use it to grab the door handle. I’ll carry the towels with me back to my desk. I wash my hands so much that I have to keep lotion in my desk drawer otherwise my hands will dry out.
Watching the way other people go in and out of the men’s room, I was not surprised at all to hear that the keyboard at work harbors a variety of disgusting, literally sickening, germs. The computer keyboard can harbor nasty viruses such as the common cold, the flu bug, and even e coli. How many times have we seen or heard someone sneeze on their keyboard and keep on typing barely missing a single keystroke. I’ve been guilty of sneezing on my keyboard myself. You sneeze and the video screen will be peppered with tiny droplets of spittle. The smell of spit permeates the air in the vicinity. I’ll do my best to keep my desk clean. I will break out the cleaner and take a stab at keeping a clean working environment every now and then. I’m not as clean as some. I know I do better than most.
Recently, I was shaking hands with a coworker I had not seen in a bit. Right after I shook his hand he sneezed and used his hand to cover his mouth. The guy said that he was trying to shake off the flu. All kinds of alarm bells started going off in my head. I know I kept talking to him. I know I kept a calm outward appearance. But as soon as that conversation was done I made a beeline to the men’s room. I wanted to ask the dip shit why he shook my hand if he had the flu. Why did he come to work if he had the flu? I could’ve slapped his sick ass!
The last thing I needed was to take some bug home and make my family sick. My faith in America’s healthcare system isn’t very healthy. I hear too many stories of people not getting enough attention from medical personnel and simply giving rote treatments for what ails them. Coughing? Take this! Head’s pounding? Take this! You’ve got the flu? Take this? And with all the unhealthy people visiting these facilities not everybody practices even the most basic form of hygiene. There was a story about a medical clinic that was recycling syringes by changing the needles. The clinic had infected a number of its patients with hepatitis C. In order to save a few dollars a week the clinic really screwed some people’s lives. No thank you!
I will practice my own common sense and do my best to limit my exposure. I will continue to wash my hands and do whatever to minimize exposure. I might look like a big germ-a-phobe to some of those Flomax guys in the men’s room at work. But that’s okay. I don’t know those people from Adam. They can stand in the hallway and exchange their viruses. It might look funny and be blown totally out of proportion. But if anybody touches me I’ll make that beeline to the men’s room in a New York minute.