We’re in the heart of diligent hand washing season, and I for one have removed my fingerprints by now I’ve washed my hands so much. I try not to go out to dinner much, because it’s a whole thing. First, I don’t want to open the door to the restaurant, so my only other option in my panicked mind is to loiter outside like a crazy person until someone else arrives so that I can run in behind them like I belong to their dinner party. It’s not awkward or anything. Then after being seated, it’s time to grab the germ filled menu. You can actually feel the germs on it it’s so bad. After ordering, it’s a big decision whether to risk catching something horrific from the restroom or not. Normally I can’t help it, so it’s not really something I can opt out of like I want to. In the ladies’ room, I basically wallpaper the stall with Charmin like I’m an interior decorator implementing operation germ protocol. If I can’t ninja kick the flusher with my foot, Charmin will help me with that too. I also bring some tissue with me to the sink in case there are no paper towels, because I’m not activating the hand dryer that spreads hot mold and germs recycled from the contaminated air onto my hands. As frustrating as the hand motion sink is that never responds to your hand frantically waving in front of it at every angle while the person next to you has not troubles at all, I still prefer that water dispenser over the one that has a knob you have to push down on just to get a 5 second dribble. I stare at it and think I’m not using my clean soapy hand on this disgusting knob. I don’t want to use my winter coat elbow either and have E. coli on my elbow. So back to the stall I go to get more paper to line the sink knob with. I don’t sing Happy Birthday twice in my head when I wash my hands like they recommend either, I say the Our Father and Hail Mary to protect me I’m so paranoid. Now it’s time to leave, so I made sure I saved enough tissue for the germ-infested door handle. Usually you hit the ladies’ room in a group so someone can hold the door with their foot while you throw that handle tissue out so you don’t instead have to try to throw it into the garbage 20 feet away and hope and pray you make the basket. If I see people leave the ladies room without washing their hands, I practically pass out. After that exhausting trip, the meal finally arrives…but somebody asks you to pass the ketchup. Oh for Pete’s Sake, are you kidding me right now? No ketchup for you. You should have grabbed it before your meal came. Eventually I’ll use my napkin to grab the ketchup because that bottle is most likely flu ground zero. After dinner, it’s time to use the pen the waiter gives you to sign your credit card receipt. Ugh. I’m out of napkins by now, so I grab my hand sanitizer out of my pocket, use the pen, squirt the sanitizer and proceed to also wipe my sanitizer bottle down so that I don’t have transferred pen germs on it the next time I need it. So yeah, it’s a whole thing leaving the house, and that’s why my fingerprints have been rubbed out and I smell like I wear hand sanitizer as a spritzer perfume. Ode to rubbing alcohol. This has been my routine year-round for years, and I’m happy now that others are being told to follow suit, finally! It’s been a nightmare for me to live with the non-handwashing public for so long. Hope you can stay healthy this year!