I realize everyone is a germ-phobe to some degree nowadays. I usually don’t consider my germ-phobe degree to be very high — I’ve come to accept that there are germs absolutely everywhere and I have control over about .2 percent of those germs. But there are some things that bother me, particularly in bathrooms. Bathrooms seem to be the most communal of all areas: there’s only one bathroom in the office, so I can safely say that 98 percent of the women from my company who need to use the bathroom that day are going to use the one in our office (there are other restrooms on other floors, but I’d guess those are rarely used). Anyway. I’m not really a germ-phobe at my desk since I’m usually the only one touching it or its contents. I’m not really a germ-phobe in the kitchen area because I’m using all of my own utensils and cookware, and my food never comes in contact with any non-Lindsey-owned items. But the bathroom is the one place I have to share and I can’t control who has touched what.
I try to block out all the disgusting possibilities of what’s been where because if I took the time to actually think about the possibilities, I’d probably not allow myself to use public restrooms anywhere ever again, which would lead to serious health problems. But there is one thing that I actually witnessed — besides toilet paper in places other than the toilet paper roll — that has me disturbed.
I went into the bathroom in my office one morning and selected my stall of choice (the first one from the left). There was someone in the middle stall, but they were flushing the toilet right as I was about to sit down (I promise that is all the detail I will share about anything else happening in any of the bathroom stalls). So the person exits the stall and then I hear them pump the towel dispenser. This was before they had washed their hands. So that means their tainted hand just touched the towel dispenser where my 100 percent washed hand is going to touch after making my hands 100 percent clean. How gross is that? I’ve heard of people pre-pumping the dispensers, maybe with an elbow, but not with their dirtied hands. And the lever on our dispenser is really small — one would have to have a very bony elbow to push it successfully and with the speed this woman was using. This was definitely a hand-pump.
Am I alone in being totally disgusted by this? You just don’t do that. If you’re super concerned about the germs on the lever, wash your hands, pump the paper and re-wash your hands. Maybe that’s a waste of water? But is it worth spreading your germs around? And if you’re such a germ-phobe, wouldn’t you have considered how you’re spreading your own germs as well?
Maybe the only solution is to install motion-activated dryers. We currently have motion-activated faucets and soap dispensers (which are a bit of a tricky device to master). Maybe I’ll bring up that possibility with our office manager…until then, I will continue to liberally use the free wet naps in the kitchen.