I am cursed with noticing things. It's really a bit of a problem. I often wish I could go through life with blinders on because noticing things often leaves me to puzzle over strange happenings that most people think I'm weird for having seen. One place of constant amazement for me is the bathroom at work. See, you already think I'm weird because the bathroom is one of the places where people try as hard as possible not to notice anything. (The other being the back corner of a gay bar.) But I can't help it, I'm cursed.
The bathroom at work has provided a few head scratching moments this year. Once I saw a guy at the urinal with his pants pulled all the way down like a kid who's just recently been potty trained. Another time I saw a guy wash his hands before he peed but not after. Often I find toilet paper laid on the toilet seat as if someone just doesn't trust the thin paper covers provided for y'know, covering the toilet seat. But all of these pale in comparison to what I witnessed a little while back. I'm sure you've all seen the people who wash their hands and then use paper towels to work the doors when they exit. Well the guy in this story takes it to a whole other level.
As I was exiting one of the stalls there was a guy exiting the adjoining stall. The paper towel dispenser in this bathroom is the kind where you pull the little handle to dispense towels that come out in a long sheet until you tear it off. I witnessed the following sequence:
1. Exit stall head directly to paper towel dispenser.
2. Dispense approx four feet of paper towels.
3. Use some towels to turn on sink.
4. Wash hands
5. Use some towels to turn off sink
6. Use remaining towels to work the handle on the paper towel dispenser to dispense more paper towels
7. Use some of the new towels to dry hands
8. Use half of the remaining towels to open inner door to bathroom
9. Throw door handle towels on the floor
10. Use remaining towels to open outer door to bathroom
11. Throw door handle towels on the floor
Now lets set aside the ecological implications of this behavior and focus on the really absurd part. Refer to step 6. That's right he used paper towels to work the handle of the paper towel dispenser he had just contaminated! He's thrown off the entire "using paper towels to protect yourself" system! If there is one thing in that whole bathroom that should be relatively germ free it should be the handle of the paper towel dispenser. After all by any reasonable standard the only people using it are people who have just washed their hands. But now this guy comes along and cocks it all up for everyone. WTF guy?
Let me ask you something. How often do you wash your belt? Now, based on that how often do you think everyone else washes their belts? And what's the first thing you touch when you're done in that stall? Well, the top of your pants, but the second thing is your belt. Follow me here. All these people you're worried about AND all of the people who obsessively wash their hands and create little paper towel gloves are all walking around with these grodie belts smack dab in the middle of their bodies. And the germs on these belts are slowly creeping up their shirts and down their pants and any time they adjust the waist of these pants they are getting germs on their hands. And then they are touching things with these hands. Touching things all around them including you and the things you touch.
Think I'm done? WRONG! Now imagine the dirtiest most disgusting surface in our shared and common world. A city sidewalk. These people with their dirty belts are also walking around on the dirty sidewalks where people spit and pee and drop (for some reason) condoms. And their shoes, their yucky disgusting shoes, are touching the cuffs of their pants. And these germs are slowly migrating up from the cuffs to rendezvous with the belt buckle germs that are migrating down. These germs then meet up right around the knees. And where do people often rest their hands when they sit down? On. Their. Knees. That's right! Knees are the enemy! People are walking around all day with their vile cesspool knees touching things and shaking your hand. YOU'RE DOOMED!!!!
Which is exactly my point. If you follow all this germophobia to a logical end you realize there's nothing you can do. The world is a dirty place. The best thing you can do is build up some immunities. Get sick people! It's good for you. If you continue to over Purell your world you will a) help create super germs that will kill us all or b) die from a common cold.
So let your babies eat off the floor. Go ahead and share a beer with a hobo. Live life! And maybe save some trees while your at it.