You know when news reports appear about food shortages or product shortages?
Well, I haven’t yet seen an occasion yet when there’s been a soap shortage. Or a shortage of wash basins. Or even, Goddammit, a shortage or paper towels. The food industry could go belly up tomorrow but we’d still be able to wash our hands.
So why is it that some of us don’t?
Why is it that some of us are just happy to smear our less attractive microbes over every communal surface possible in order to spread a little “germ love” to those we love and even those we don’t?
This is an age old complaint. I know it is. One day a fossilized stone slab will be found or possibly even a Mesolithic cave drawing that features some hang-dog caveman going about his toilet, not wiping his hands on a mammoth fur flannel and then being thrown out of the tribe for fingering the sabre tooth tiger steaks and scratching his back side with a flinthead axe.
And here we are in the 21st century and that hang-dog caveman is still around. The mammoth steaks and the flinthead axes might have disappeared but the not washing after using the toilet remains.
Countless times I have found myself ideologically trapped within a toilet facility. I have gone about my business. I have washed and dried and I’m ready to go. But a patron is ahead of me. A patron who has relieved himself of some intimate burden and then – for sheer want of any kind of civilizing influence – has vacated the premises without introducing his hands to soap and water.
Instead he has greased himself all over the door handle.
Which leaves me with a dilemma.
Do I try and grip the door handle at the point where I think he will have been least likely to touch it? This means trying to operate it only from its merest extremities – difficult when the door is heavy. Or do I wrap the handle in a paper towel and open it by way of a sheathing device? Or, even more dramatic, do I prop the door open with my foot and contort myself to the point of popping a hernia to reach the sink to wash my hands a second time and then barge my way out through the ajar door to gain my freedom and retain my germ free existence?
I don’t need this kind of conundrum when I want to use the bathroom! If I want more challenges in my life I’ll take up Sudoku.
Please, please, please, is it too much to ask that we all wash and go... after we’ve gone?