it’s downhill from the playground

April 25, 2011

It never ceases to amaze me to observe the number of things that we as adults find ourselves doing that in kindergarten we were told to NEVER do.

A girl walked out of the bathroom today and never washed her hands. Not even a little water. She came out of the stall, walked up to the bathroom mirror, ran her hands through her hair, touched up her makeup and adjusted her shirt but never once made a move for the sink.

My mind screamed, wash your hands. I imagined the creeping, crawling germs leaping off her hands onto the mirror, onto her hair, onto the countertops and scurrying in all directions as far away from the water as they could get so as to make sure they couldn’t get washed away by the inevitable germ-eliminating soap that in this instance never came but usually follows a trip to the toilet.

No, those germs got pretty lucky. And I was very happy to be standing on the opposite end of the locker room from her.

I felt largely contented to stand at my mirror and stare at her and judge her. Yes, judge. And why shouldn’t I?

There is such an enormous stigma against judgment today.

Turn on Jersey Shore or The Real Housewives of Orange County and you’ll get an earful of expletives and shrill demands to not judge them. How dare you judge them!

But what’s so wrong with judgment? Sure, you might be ignorant. And in that case you may deserve the dirty looks and catty remarks that come your way.

Now, in the case of the bathroom girl, she should have washed her hands. And that’s that.

I saw her go into a stall. I heard a toilet flush. So she needs to wash her hands.

Even if she did nothing more than pull off a piece of toilet paper and blot her sweaty face, she must realize that every single girl in that locker room would judge her for not washing her hands.

If for no other reason, do it for the embarrassment it will cause you. Even if you don’t care about hygiene or about anyone else’s well-being. Do it for the ick factor. Do it so you’re not looked at like the kid in first grade who disected a frog and then immediately ate her lunch.

And then there’s staring.

We were all taught at an early age to not stare at others. Eye contact, sure, great!

Eye contact is important in conversation. But shooting eye lasers at people to the point of causing them to feel as if they are being seared through at a tremendous speed goes beyond acceptable societal norms.

Long-term staring generates a sort of creepy, I like your eyes, facebook stalking kind of vibe. It does nothing for your social life, or dating life, and if you are lucky to have any friends at all, they are most likely the wrong kind.

So, as kindergartners do every day, let’s endeavor just for one day to keep our eyes looking straight ahead with hands at our side or under water, washing the germs away, and eagerly anticipating nap time.

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