January 31, 2006

very brief point, interrupted by very lengthy tangents

so i don't know what happened recently, but all of a sudden i'm way more aware of (concerned with? vaguely paranoid about?) other peoples' germs. this makes no sense to me. i mean, hello, i went to farm school! chickens! fields! forests! manual labor! i literally spent my childhood frolicking in creeks, catching tadpoles, running back up to the farmhouse, brushing off a few ticks before they bit, then sitting down for lunch, all without a hand-wash in sight.

(that's seriously not even exaggerated. we really did go down the creek during class, and in addition to tadpoles, used to catch "eels" [which i now realize were water snakes - um, but, still? we'd CATCH THEM WITH OUR HANDS] and see how long we could hold on to them before they bucked out of our hands and slithered away. then maybe pick some sap off of pine trees to examine it for bugs trapped inside, and maybe go down to the wild strawberry field and eat berries. then eat lunch. or possibly have gardening class, where we literally shoveled manure, and most likely only washed our hands afterwards if a teacher reminded/forced us. while i was there for camp one summer, i vividly remember looking down at my bare leg after i'd been working to clear an area of brush on the edge of the sheep field and seeing four, count 'em, FOUR ticks marching up my leg in a line. wasn't even cause for concern - just brushed them off and kept clearing. i had a slightly weird childhood.)

anyway. the point here was supposed to be that me? not typically so concerned with the dirt and the germs. in fact, i am very much for pro-germy childhoods! i think dirt and bugs and the probable eating thereof makes you strong and hardy. builds character, and good immune systems and stuff. and yet for reasons i am unclear on, all of a sudden i want to wash my hands all the time.

i noticed this on sunday night, after i went contra dancing with matt, my best friend from highschool, and her husband.

uh, ok, that whole contra dancing thing might need an aside as well. so! contra dancing! i had sort of vaguely heard of it before, and my friend amanda had definitely heard of it before, so we found a place in the area that contras away on sunday nights. contra dancing is like a mix between country line dancing and square dancing. honestly, it's like square dancing in a long line instead of a square. the idea, though, is that you have a partner for a dance, but end up moving up and down the entire line throughout the duration of the dance, so you *actually* dance, if briefly, with every guy there at least once. it was a whole lot of fun (and good GODS was it exertion-ful! sweat! sore muscles! dehydration!) but apparently way bigger with the 45+ crowd than the, say, mid-20 crowd. i was talking to my parents on my way out to Maryland, where the dancing was to occur, and my mom sort of warned me about this:

my mom: you know, contra dancing might be a little.. um.. tame.
for you.

me: what's that supposed to mean??

my mom: just that.. well, i don't know.. it's just.. maybe a little

me: what, like i can only do crazy wild things??

my mom: no! i just mean --

me: tell you what, i'm wearing a REALLY low cut shirt. will that

my mom: oh - gosh - well -- i don't know if that's really

me: i'm kidding, mom.

but. back to the point again. after dancing with at least 50 different guys, all of a sudden i was super-aware of how many sweaty hands and backs and arms i'd touched. and it TOTALLY grossed me out. then last night, i stopped at mcdonald's* to pick up some dinner, and suddenly got skeeved out when i pushed the door open with my hand, because i knew i was about to eat fries in my car... with my hand.

where is this coming from?? am i sliding down a slippery slope into full on OCD? actually, come to think of it, there's no WAY i'd ever make a good OCDer. i'm way too lazy. like last night, after i grossed myself out by touching the mcd's door? yeah, didn't actually *do* anything about being grossed out, just proceded to eat the fries anyway. mmm... other people's germs + fake fried food. tasty!

*i'd had a REALLY bad day... what is it about crappy days that makes me want junk food? wouldn't my body be better served by actual nutrition after 11 hours under fluorescent lights?


  1. I'm to lazy to be OCD, too.
    It must take an enourmous amount of enery to be OCD, I would think!

  2. Noting like a good slathering of Ebola on your hands ... is there ...


  3. I'm still laughing at you catching "eels" with your hands. Hilarious.

  4. yeah germs are so not cool.....found you thru Roxi!!! :)

  5. I've always been OCD to a point, but realized recently that it's moved into another realm. The realm of me having to touch what seems like ALL the clothes in the stores. You know, just to see what they feel like. I realize it's strange, I want to stop, and yet? I can't because what if that shirt isn't nearly as soft as THAT one? It's totally logical, don't you think?

  6. fuck man.. I could go for some friggin fries right now too..

    people are gross.. thats why I wanna be a saint.

  7. I must find out more about contra dancing! I LOVE country line dancing. Usually I didn't worry about touching other sweaty people when country line dancing because I was usually even more sweaty - and drunk.

    Also, I totally agree that parents shouldn't be so anal about their kids being germy. I think it builds a good immune system, whereas if you're always disinfecting things they're going to get sick the first germ they see.

  8. I struggle with this, but read an article (which I'm too lazy to find now) that essentially stated that the more contact people have with other people in different groups (like work was one group, church another, etc.), the healthier they were.

    So the germs are good for you. Or it's good that the germs give your immune system a workout or something.

    I still hate them.

  9. Are you trying to turn me into a big germaphobe? I'm slowly recounting all of the people I deal with...yuck.

  10. I hope this doesn't mean your knocked up.

  11. I think I'm too lazy to be totally OCD as well. But I do crave junk food, especially ice-cream, when I have crappy days. :)

  12. I refuse to allow myself to overthink the whole germ thing. Because I'm sure if I did, it would drive me absolutely CRAZY. So as such, I don't care about germs. Although I must admit, the thought of yukky sweaty hands grosses me out. Not because of the germs, though. Just... strangers' sweaty hands? Ick.

  13. Okay...

    1. I love your conversations with your family.

    2. I thought I was the only person with an ever increasing germ obsession (I don't do much about it either).

    3. I hear you on the junk food thing. Just one more way to self-destruct on a bad day.

  14. As long as you don't start washing your hands every ten minutes, I'm sure you'll be OK.

  15. anon e mouse1/2/06 4:45 PM

    the Colombians are involved in some "contra dancing" of their own. It involves missiles and cocaine .... and alice's mom still thinks it's a little tame for alice.

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