Hand Wringing About Hand Washing

The coronavirus has taught me a lot of things. For example, who knew that after spending five plus decades on this planet I really didn’t know how to wash my hands. I always considered myself an exemplary hand washing. But come to find out I was, at best, lackluster.

My problem area it seems was in the length of my hand washing. I was a soap and go girl. A hand washing sprinter if you will when apparently I needed to be a marathon runner in the hand hygiene event.

I‘m estimating I spent 10 seconds at the sink. Two seconds for soap application, six seconds for the scrub-a-dub-dub of it all and another two seconds for the drying sequence. I was shocked to discover that I should have been doubling my sink time.

My hand washing failure so disturbed me that I felt compelled to do some personal hygiene math. If you take the average amount of times a day a person washes their hands and combine that with my years on earth I have washed my hands incorrectly more than 150,000 times.

The shame is real my friends.

I furthered grossed myself out with the realization my now 20 second washed hands can’t stay off my face. Like, I literally can’t stop touching my face. I blame this on the fact that I’m also a hand talker.

Yes, I’m one of those people who uses their hands a lot while talking and one of the characteristics of being a hand talker is that you’re also a serial face toucher.

I certainly knew I was a hand talker because it’s a genetic trait. There’s not one person I’m related to who doesn’t love the added conversation oomph of using their hands to further their communicative ability.

A conversation without using your hands is like toast without butter – totally lacking in any real flavor satisfaction. Unfortunately, those hands also like landing on the face.

Yesterday I counted myself touching my face 13 times in less than 30 minutes and this was when I was earnestly trying to not touch my face. Never mind that I was home alone and the only person I was talking to was myself.

Another lesson that has become apparent is one that thankfully is not about my personal failings but instead is a shout out to my Grandma Stella. Because of this woman’s greatness I was a bleach warrior before it was mandatory.

Yes, while everyone was scrambling to buy disinfectants I had three gallons of bleach in my laundry room because I heart bleach. I even have “bleach clothes” that I wear when doing housework because as any good bleach aficionado will tell you things aren’t clean unless they’re bleach clean.

This I learned from Grandma Stella who should go down in history as the world’s most compulsive cleaner. As a young child I would follow her from room-to-room as she would use bleach and a toothbrush to clean every surface of her home.

This wonderful woman taught me the power of Clorox and thanks to her I never fell prey for all those smell good cleaners that were low on sodium hypochlorite and high on essential oils.

Hmm, based on this memory maybe that hygiene math I did earlier is wrong. Because if I’ve had my hands basted in bleach while I‘ve done thousands upon thousands hours of housework this means that my hands have been a lot cleaner than I’ve thought.

Yes, let’s go with that. Now I feel a lot better which is a good thing because I just touched my face – again.