There’s nothing like an imminent global swine flu pandemic to test a recovering germaphobe’s mettle.
Of course, right after the weekend when I finally turned the corner and let someone else peel an orange for me (knowing full well that particular someone had been coughing up her lungs days before, and was barely 24 hours from contact with her puking children), here comes a worldwide, animal to person/person to person epidemic.
And to think, I just ate out at a Mexican place…twice in three days. I know, Mexican is not Mexico, but still, there’s irony there.
I must say that, to date, my response to the swine flu threat has been pretty measured. I have contemplated but not yet done the following: discontinue eating out, stock up on latex gloves, take my children out of school, buy only local. If you are reading this and are not a germaphobe, then you may not get where I’m coming from about the “buy local” deal, but the way I figure it, we’re getting a lot of produce from a lot of places—if the picker or packer out in who-knows-where is infected and happens to sneeze on my out-of-season strawberries, then it’s USA or bust for a new batch of microscopic menaces.
There’s an argument in favor of pick-your-own, yes?
Thankfully, the advent of hand sanitizer has given me more of a sense of control over the germ fauna in my personal environment. At last count, I’m carrying three bottles of the stuff in my purse, and I have a handy hand sanitizer basket giving a sunny greeting to everyone who comes in my front door. There’s also a hand san bottle on the coffee table, maybe because of that time I played a board game with one of my sick children, only to realize that we were rolling the same coughed-on, sneezed-on, breathed-on die. To be on the safe side, I decided to disinfect before each turn.
As germaphobes go, though, I don’t think I’m that hard core. In fact, I’m relaxing some of my normal restrictions. For example, to minimize illness, my husband, children, and I don’t share food between September and June. But last night at dinner I let my daughter eat someone else’s leftovers. That’s a start, I guess.
Especially because if anyone gets sick, it’ll be her, not me.