I don't know about the rest of you guys, but I have issues with public places. Not your typical anxiety or claustrophobia being surrounded by crowds of people, but more the things that those crowds touch. Railings, carts, counters, doors, bathrooms . . . . . . . the list goes on. I simply do not feel comfortable touching all those things too. I don't steady myself on banisters going up stairs. I avoid leaning on counters and tables in stores. There's a special love between me and automatic doors. And, above all, I never touch anything in public restrooms. Do not misunderstand, I mean ANYTHING. Forget going out with a bang, I come in with one. BANG! That bathroom door never saw it coming. Yet another perfectly executed kung fu, germ-avoidance kick. I just cross my fingers and hope nobody is behind the door. Once inside, the odor and filth are so assaulting, I feel as if I'll contract a disease simply by inhaling. Squatting in a bush is so much better than public restrooms. After surveying the available toilets I choose the least offensive one, close the door with my foot, then proceed to pile the porcelain with layers of toilet paper (since they're always out of the convenient seat liners). Once business is taken care of, the only way anything gets flushed down is if my hand is mummified. It's also the only way I end up out of the stall. It all feels so 'What About Bob?'ish (OK, I'm not that OCD . . . . . . I swear). Washing my hands is strange because even though I'm about to scrub the skin off 'em, I still hesitate to touch the faucet & soap dispenser. The paper towels is even harder. I just eradicated the germs from my hands, why would I want to risk contamination again? My elbow usually bails me out. And Mr. Paper Towel who dries my digits, yeah he's real sweet. He always hold my hand, opens doors for me (kung fu, germ-avoidance kicks aren't as effective the opposite way), pushes my cart while I shop. The relationships never seem to last though. I just can't commit for longer than one Target trip. It's not you, it's me.
I don't know exactly when my paranoia set in, but I'm pretty sure it got a big push by me having a job that deals with the public every day. Working at Radioshack for the past 5 years has made me acutely aware of how unbelievably disgusting a person can be. I'm sorry, but when I help a customer who always wears the same set of clothes with the same food dribbles, hair matted, stench unbearable, greasy build-up of who knows what on his skin, teeth rotted out of his head because the last time he brushed them was 20 years ago, yeah you can't convince me not to be a germaphobic. You're telling me there are people like that out there TOUCHING things and you aren't worried? And don't tell me that that guy is some homeless bum. Because he's not. He has a house. And money. He just chooses to let his body and every sort of bacteria get together for dinner and, while they're at it, create the disease that will WIPE OUT THE ENTIRE HUMAN RACE.
You'd be surprised about how many of those types of people I come in contact with through work. They all stink and they all want to standthisclosetoyou. I've almost tossed my cookies on more than one occasion. THE SMELL IS THAT BAD. I don't know what I'm going to do when I'm finally pregnant and am blessed with a supernose and queasy stomach. I'm sorry sir, but I'm pregnant and you smell really, really bad. Flesh-eating acid up the nostrils is way more appealing than inhaling your body odor ever again. Please go home and soak yourself in bleach. Thank you. Have a nice day.
You may feel I'm over-reacting, but just stop and think about it. A man goes to the bathroom, fails to wash his hands, then touches a door handle. A little kid sticks her hands in her diaper & wipes some on a chair. An old lady sneezes mucus and saliva (and whatever cold virus she has) all over a cart handle. The aforementioned greasy guy who hasn't showered in months leans on a store counter. Then you come along and get comfortable with all those germs. You open that door. You sit on that chair. You push that cart. You lean on that counter. You then proceed to wipe something from your eye, put a piece of gum in your mouth, and generally touch your face everywhere WITH YOUR BARE HANDS THAT JUST TOUCHED ALL THOSE EXTREMELY PUBLIC PLACES. Sheesh, get a room already! What's that? You haven't gotten sick and died a horrible death yet? Well neither have I, but I guarantee you if you would've seen that lady sneeze all over that cart, you would've picked a different one. That's the issue, we just assume, because we didn't see the offense happen, that things are clean. They're not. For me, if I touch a counter in a store, I see that greasy man wiping his body grime everywhere. He's laying on the counter making grease angels. Yeah, it's time for hand sanitizer. NOW.
Yeah, I know, I have issues. I told you so. But this concern (obsession is such a strong word) doesn't stop me from living life and doing things that make me happy. I still love to shop, eat out, go to shows, etc. I just keep my hands to myself when I do.