Welcome to the thoughts, rants and passions of a young Muslim woman seeking soulful enlightenment in cyberspace.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Where have your hands been today?!

You learn strange things on road trips. I think the most disgusting thing I observed in roadside restrooms recently is that a horrifyingly large proportion of people do not wash their hands after using the toilet. I know this is not just a road trip thing. I’m pretty sure there are people who do not wash their hands anywhere. I notice it on campus too: a girl opens the toilet door and waltzes right out the bathroom, smelly hands and all, while I’m scrubbing away at my hands with antibacterial soap.

I used to think only kids did that – I figured parents weren’t doing a good job teaching their youngsters how important it is to wash their hands after using the bathroom. So when I saw mothers doing the same thing, I convinced myself it was an anomaly. Until I started noticing it again. And again. And again. I mean, I know I might never even meet the same people again. Some would say meeting someone in the bathroom is not really meeting them at all. But just the thought of so many icky hands running loose in civilized society is enough to put me in panic mode.

I’m pretty sure those are the sorts of people who don’t wash their hands before diving into a large order of french fries. Hey, when you’ve got ketchup on your fingers, everything tastes fantastic. I learned that when I was two. But seriously, what’s so hard about taking a few minutes to dash some water, maybe even some soap, over your hands? Is it because people are in a rush? Because they just don’t think it’s necessary? This is one aspect of Western culture that I’m pretty glad I haven’t picked up on. I have to admit though, I do have nightmares about those germs getting close to me.

Sometimes I think it’s a good thing I can hide behind the Islamic custom of not shaking hands. Sadly the excuse only works with the opposite sex. God knows where those stinkers’ hands were before they shake mine. I have to bite my tongue to prevent myself from asking, where have your hands been today?

It’s so repulsive I don’t even want to think about it.


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