To Hover or Not To Hover? That Is The Question


hospital-germs-29627939No one would have believed the conversation that my sister Jeannie and I were having in the back seat of the car on the way to my brother Jim’s house in Mount Hope, Ontario. My husband Rolly was driving; my niece Brittany was in the front seat conversing with her uncle about how beautiful the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia is, as Rolly is considering a driving trip for us next summer, perhaps leading up to Brittany’s brother Aaron’s and fiancée Andrea’s wedding. Jeannie and Brittany are here for a quick visit with the Ontario relatives. Jeannie and I were talking about a less beautiful topic; I’ve told her how disgusting I think the habit of finger licking is. She apparently thinks that it would be OK if one was eating ribs or something yummy but sticky, and I almost can’t believe that she was raised by the same mother as me!

My Mom, the Queen of  Javex! (Sorry Mom, maybe we should call you the Queen of Clorox instead, in honour of your American roots, as  Javex  has only just recently become American after a squeaky clean Clorox buy out) Mom loved to sanitize with bleach. Was it only a coincidence that the Clorox company mascot was an animated bleach bottle named “Butch”? This was the nickname my brother Keith, Mom’s oldest son, was given when he was young. Oh the stigma!… Oh the irony!!  (Sorry Keith everyone knows how you love doing laundry!)

By now I have likely alienated three family members with what I have written today, and I have barely passed the 200 word mark. Whoever said that the pen was mightier than the sword wasn’t just kidding!

Actually, the conversation that Jeannie and I were having in the car was focused on germs as, sadly, a good part of my thoughts are also. We had stopped for coffee at Timmy’s— Tim Horton’s for my American readers who aren’t on such familiar terms with this franchise coffee and donut shop that we Canadians seem totally addicted to. Within minutes we were at another Timmy’s, but for another reason entirely. My niece called it “Coffee Closure.” Apparently “closure” is a formal term she likes to use— what with her legal training and all. Brittany is an Immigration Consultant with her own business and now I have likely alienated her too! No hope for me if I ever need to leave the country and assume a secret identity because of all the reputation besmirching I’ve been doing since I began blogging!  Perhaps “defamation of character” would have been a better term to use, but I’m in a mood now, and I refuse to retype it. I guess in actuality I’d need an “emmigration” consultant if push comes to shove, so there’s no point in worrying over whether I’ve insulted  Brinn now either.

I think all that partying last night has taken its toll… Now, back to being serious! … My sister and I were both laughing at Brittany’s “coffee closure” remark, but as we each had previously consumed what looked like a large take-out coffee, that the franchise had strangely deemed to rename “medium” since we last ordered for ourselves, we tried not to laugh too hard. Coming out of the washroom, after we had both vigorously scrubbed and then blown dry our hands with one of those jet engine propelled air blasters, Jeannie noticed that I opened the Ladies’ Room door by first pulling down my sleeve to cover the handle where my hand would otherwise have contacted. That was the origin of our “finger licking” conversation later in the car. I told her that there might be germs on a person’s fingers that they were licking off along with the rib sauce and then I named all the ways in which that could happen— even after a thorough hand washing. My Germaphobia had reached a fever pitch. It was a good thing we weren’t going to be eating out that night!

The gathering at our brother Jim and sister-in law Joanne’s home was wonderful. Despite the fact that Joanne’s work schedule kept her away until after our arrival,  dinner preparations were soon well under way by Jim and his sons Lee and Ryan and their fiancées Jess and Ashley. When Joanne arrived to a houseful of relatives she hastened dinner preparations further along. Brother Jim owns The Checkered Flag Bar and Grill in Mount Hope, a Nascar-themed destination  where his signature half-pound sirloin burgers are a real draw for hungry customers. He cooked mine up to perfection on his back yard barbecue grill and I enjoyed every bite of it with nary a worry about any negative consequences later on. Yep! He was raised by the stringent standards of the Queen of Clorox too!

On the way home in the dark I got to thinking about some of the bad things that have happened related to this phobia about germs that several members of my family share with me. Most guys won’t get this, but ladies are adept at doing the “toilet bowl hover.” In doing so, no contact whatsoever is made with any possible germs (provided one also uses folded toilet tissue to open the door lock to exit from the cubicle.) My sister Kathy, as a teenager, was crossing on the Chi-cheemaun Ferry from Tobermory to Manitoulin Island with Mom and Dad and the three younger ones in the family. It turned out to be, according to the captain, the roughest crossing in years due to previous stormy weather. In the midst of a gigantic swell, the door lock on the cubicle didn’t work and Kathy was thrown violently out onto the middle of the tiled washroom floor in an embarrassingly state! With pants tangled around  her ankles she needed sibling assistance to help her up. Yes! Germaphobia can be dangerous!

A similar episode happened to our Mom while she and the four youngest ones were in the back of  a camper, travelling through the mountains with Dad driving. I cannot say for a fact that Mom was hovering at the time, but still she came very near to flying—over a cliff that is! Dad made a very sharp hair-pin turn a little too fast for those in the back. Mom was just in the process of something or other when she was violently thrown from the throne room as she was heaved against its flimsy door! This door— without much fengshui forethought— was positioned directly across from the camper’s exterior door. When Mom flew out of the tiny washroom and directly into a collision with the outside door she instinctively grabbed the door handle to save herself from injury.The door flew open at the touch of her hand on the flipper type handle! She ended up hanging out over a mountainside on tiptoe like some crazy character in a Keystone Cops movie! Fortunately Dad, who was happily whistling along with his Roger Whittaker 8 track tape, while driving the truck carrying the booby-trapped camper, without a clue to what was going on behind him, suddenly swerved in the opposite direction! The screaming of the nearly motherless children at that moment was almost as loud as the laughter is now, when this story is told and retold at family get-togethers. Fortunately, Dad reinforced the interior lock situation and Mom was never put in that um, bare-assing situation ever again!

I ask you now to consider whether or not Germaphobia is dangerous to one’s health or not. Whatever your answer may be, mine is still up in the air!       

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