I have a confession.
I hate hand sanitizer.
I know COVID has increased the popularity of hand sanitizer by about a million, but elementary teachers have been sanitizing kids' hands since the beginning of time. Lining up for lunch? Everyone gets a small dose to rub into their hands to try to keep them all healthy and happy.
That being said, when Keaton was little I emailed more than one teacher to request that they not put sanitizer on his hands at school. I don't think I have many helicopter mom moments, but this could be one of them. His hands were usually filled with deep cracks that would get infected and bleed and such, and rubbing alcohol all over them was not exactly helping him feel better. (I wish I had a picture of his childhood hands for dramatic effect, but I can't seem to locate one at the moment.) As soon as I pointed it out, every single teacher was happy to send him for legit soap-and-water hand washing instead (because teachers are awesome and will do whatever kids need to be happy and healthy even if they have helicopter moms).
This has nothing to do with why I hate hand sanitizer. It was a only slightly relevant sidenote.
I shall continue.
Hand sanitizer is the same consistency as snot, and snot is gross.
I can handle blood, vomit, and any other bodily fluid. Someone having a disgusting medical emergency? I'm your girl. Working with kids and having kids of my own proves this to be true. I don't get rattled by the gore of life.
Except snot. And hand sanitizer reminds me snot. I have always had this aversion, but there have only been a few times in my life when it became apparent to the rest of the world.
The first time was when Trey and I were serving communion at church.
A few years ago, our church started hand sanitizing the people who were going to serve communion. We have communion once each month, and church members serve to the congregation. Trey and I were in the rotation, and I hadn't thought one thing about the addition of the sanitizer. Until, of course, I was standing up in front of the church next to my husband watching one of our pastors passing it out, pumping a single dose, person-by-person, as we prepared for this holy moment.
He was one person closer.
I began to panic. He was getting nearer by the second. There was no where for me to go. I couldn't just leave - everyone was watching. I couldn't refuse the germ-killing snot blob that was about to be pumped into my hands in front of everyone - no one would come to my line. People will think I'm gross. That I'm germ-y. I started breathing hard.
And then the pastor was standing in front of me. I took a deep breath, held out my hands, and tried to think about anything else as I rubbed my hands together and tried not to audibly gag. You know that feeling when you really want to gag and your throat is seizing and you can't breathe and you start sweating and think you might pass out? I did that in front of the whole church.
I did that silently in front of the whole church during communion, of all times. It's a good thing I serve a forgiving God.
The second time was this summer when some friends and I were shopping in Brenham.
Mid-COVID, some shops seemed like there was no pandemic at all and some shops had their very best protocols in place. Almost everyone had a pump of hand sanitizer at the door with a sign that requested you sanitize before entering. A sign I could very easily pretend not to see so that I didn't spend my shopping experience trying not to vomit in the store whilst rubbing snot all over my hands.
(You can judge me if you want, but you know I'm right. It's totally snot-like.)
Then, we entered one store where the person working stopped us at the door and asked us to use the sanitizer. Two things went through my head: 1) I am all for community care and I can do this exceptional thing in order to keep others safe, and 2) I am a rule follower. So I gave myself the quickest mental pep talk in history, and pumped it up.
I'm pretty sure the thing was broken because one actual gallon of hand sanitizer came out directly into my hands. It dripped onto the floor, ran down my arms, and the pungent smell of alcohol made me dizzy in my terror. Frantically I rubbed and rubbed, but I swear it was multiplying. I gagged, audibly, while looking around to see if anyone noticed what was happening. My face contorted in disgust as I locked eyes with the employee.
"I'm sorry, but do you have a paper towel that I can use to wipe this off?," I asked through gritted teeth.
She found one, and I removed the wretched almost-liquid, and I swore to never ever ever subject myself to that kind of torture again. I mean, a person has limits, and I have found mine.
To conclude this post, let me provide some comfort for those of you who may think I'm part of the problem when it comes to germiness these days and may be inclined to put on your judgy-pants. I wash my hands like a boss about eleventy billion times every single day. I can move in and out of rooms in public without ever touching a blessed thing with my hands...feet, elbows, even wrists can be used to open doors, push carts, etc.
Also, I have spray sanitizer both in my office and my house. It's a mist - like water (instead of snot) - and I use it all the time. I saw a commercial today for some Dove sanitizer that appears to be lotion-y, and I can definitely get on board with that. The Google tells me I can buy it at Walgreens, so I'll give that shot tomorrow.
So don't judge me when I politely say "no thank you" if you offer me a pump of the traditional stuff. Neither of us wants to see my reaction if I have to use it.