The people who love me most in this world know I have serious issues. Most prominently, I’m a germophobe with (I’d say mild) obsessive-compulsive disorder. I am known to always have an arsenal of hand-sanitizer at my immediate disposal. I have a pump bottle on my desk, one in the car cup-holder, and presently have three small bottles in my purse, since I just received a new bottle of (Holla! Cucumber-melon scented!) Purell as a gift from my dear Jessica, just for being me. (I may have editorialized that last part a little.)
People who pass by my desk are often heard remarking, “I smell hand sanitizer,” and anyone who’s ever been in a restaurant with me knows that after I finish perusing the menu, but before I squeeze my lemon into my water and rub my silverware with my napkin, I apply a hearty dose of the 90-proof.
To me, if it’s not cute, cuddly, edible, or, you know, soap – it’s dirty. That is including (but not limited to): bathrooms, trash cans, mail, keyboards, telephones, grocery carts, door handles, money, and keys. It especially includes other people and their hands. It’s true what they say – you really do not know where those hands have been! But I do. They’ve been in the stall next to me, after which they left the bathroom without even turning on the faucet. They’ve been scratching their tail or picking their nose or hanging out at Wal-Mart and they’ve never considered spending a few quality moments with a bar of soap.
Sadly, I’ve found that can apply to the most upstanding of folks. But – and you can accuse me of profiling here – the creepier/crazier/crustier the person, the cruddier the hands.
So, this afternoon, one said creepy/crazy/crusty-man came by my office and proceeded to ramble aimlessly and non-sensically about absolutely nothing I could help him with, while I put forth my best effort at pleasantries that – to any rational person – would signal an end to the conversation, followed by the prompt exit from my general vicinity.
Instead, he was impervious to hints – subtle or otherwise – and continued to drone on until he finally drew to a close, and much to my chagrin, reached out his hand for mind. In much the same way that you can tell someone is going to be a sloppy and disgusting kisser, you can tell who’s going to have a skeazy handshake.*
First of all, he held out his hand like he wanted me to caress it rather than shake it. Secondly, that awkward pose provided me an up-close view of his lengthy fingernails, which made me shudder and want to say, “OK, look. Signs point to the fact that you’re most likely a dude. And as a dude, your fingernails should NOT be longer than mine.” Once we actually made contact, my suspicions were confirmed when I found his handshake to be clammy and limp – I could almost feel the germs leaching onto me with glee. As soon as he was out the door, I ran to the sink and washed my hands – up to my elbows – for a solid ten minutes.
You’d think that was the end of my sordid tale, but, alas – I have more. Less than an hour later, THE GUY CAME BACK! It was more of the same – useless information and going on and on and on. My patience had already worn thin, and all I really wanted was for him to GOOOOO AWAAAAAAY.
Before he would leave, however, he had one final request:
*points at my desk* “Hey – can I use some of your hand sanitizer?”
Inside, I was all, “Dear God! Noooo! Not my hand sanitizer!” On the outside, though, I begrudgingly handed it over to him and said, “There’s only a little bit left. You can have it.” He insisted that he could not take it, as someone else may come along that I don’t know from Adam and they, too, may be uncouth enough to ask to borrow personal items from my desk. I kept pleading, “No, it’s OK, really, you can keep it,” but in the end, he handed it back to me anyway.
I was appalled. My hand-sanitizer. My safe and happy place in a word of dirt and disorder and he CONTAMINATED IT. Luckily, I have a co-worker who loves me and knows me well, so as he stepped out of the door, and I sat teetering on the edge of breakdown, she sprung into action with the disinfectant wipes and saved the day. She judged it best that the bottle be tossed in the trash after dispensing the remnant into my offended hand, and then she followed it up by wiping down all the surfaces while I practiced my breathing exercises.
The bottom line, creepy people of the world, is please do not touch me. And please do not touch my hand sanitizer. The fact that you do not have your own is the very same reason I would ask that you NOT. TOUCH. ME.
Thank you. That is all.
*Not to be confused with “Sleazy Handshake,” Ryan Adams’ latest alt-metal-or-something-esque moniker.