Tea Time With Jesse

Six of One, Half Dozen the Other

Old Habits

Posted by middlerage on September 21, 2010

As the season of colds approaches I am reminded of the annual advice from the medical establishment to wash my hands vigorously. They also, to a lesser degree, encourage us to keep from touching our faces, especially nose and eyes. The biggie, though, is to wash wash wash, for 20 Mississippi seconds; studies showing that it is the rubbing that does the little buggies in.  In fact, I’ve seen some research that says even washing in cold water with no soap is nearly as effective as long as you rub your hands together for 20 secs or more. It’s the rubbing, stupid (insert juvenile penis joke here. Ohp, now I can’t post this to FB.). I’ve also seen research that says the ubiquitous mini bottle of hand sanitizer in mommy’s purse is next to useless. It’s the rubbing, stupid (did I already say that?).

I’ve done cold and flu seasons before, where I made religious attention to washing my hands. It still didn’t help. I get ’em and I get ’em bad. Evolutionarily, I shouldn’t get to pass on my DNA…I’m just too weak when it comes to deh buggies.

So this season I am going to make a valiant effort (Valiant!) to adopt the second strategy. In addition to the handwashing, I’m gonna try to stop touching my face.

But OMG is it hard. We are born to be face touchers, and I am one of the worst. There must be something evolutionarily useful about it; maybe Africa was full of face eating maggots and we all adapted to checking for them constantly.

There is just something about nervous touching that is fascinating. I started writing this post in my head as I was driving down the road. I noticed that I had my left thumb hooked into the steering wheel, while the left fingers fidgeted with the turn signal wand – though there was no need to signal. Meanwhile the right hand fidgeted the gear shift even though there was no cause to shift. It’s this constant need to do something with our hands that is fascinating, in need of Federal study. (Or at least my hands. Perhaps I shouldn’t include my fellow readers in my fidgety self deprecation).

Perhaps it is a by-product of our gracile evolution. These deft hands always need to be interacting with the world, like the antennae of ants. Constantly exploring our immediate environment, checking our faces in an existential re-confirmation. Yes I am here.

Touchio ergo sum.


One Response to “Old Habits”

  1. Susan said

    What’s worse is that the INSTANT you think “I’m not going to touch my face”, something on your face will start to itch! I had recent proof of this when everyone (but me) in my house was stricken with a nasty stomach bug. I was trying not to touch my face, but boy was it hard, so I had to settle for washing my hands more than Lady McBeth.

    And, feel free to include me in your fidgety deprecation, because I’m awful. I fidget constantly! Just ask David….

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