Aside from the serious danger, staying home and being clean is my tendency. So it’s weird to see people freaking out and overdoing it.
Being someone who recharges by having time alone, the thought and practice of spending more time away from friends and strangers doesn’t make me crazy—as it clearly is doing for all the extroverts I know and have heard from. Being forced to stay away though, that feels lonely pretty fast.
I’ve always tried to keep my home as a place I like to be. I don’t feel the need to go out all the time and when I do, I feel like I need a purpose to do so: see a view, visit particular people, eat a certain thing, open up the world of possibilities to experience something I couldn’t have predicted. The out of the house experiences to me are things I can’t have at home or maybe things that I wouldn’t want at my home all the time. Like special occasion food vs comfort food. Home is where I prefer to be for comfort, for myself, for family.
If society wasn’t territorial, adversarial, and based on scarcity—home could really be anywhere. But since it isn’t, home is a place within walls and a door containing all the things I need most.
Being someone who keeps themselves at a basic level of cleanliness, it is my opinion that most people are pretty filthy and men especially. I’ve shared countless public and company bathrooms with men and boys who create horrific messes from every orifice and/or leave this room after only a quick splash of water alone… or nothing at all. I’ve seen and heard them barely finish their business before walking off on their merry way. Not a wash or wipe to be had.
About town and in the workplace, I’m consistently visited by scent of infection from people’s breath and odor from all other parts of the body. Sometimes it’s temporary but often it’s chronic, either from themselves or the clothes they’re wearing.
Living in a place that so easily grows mold, I frequently re-wash my unworn clothes. That together with my propensity for overheating and sweating makes it especially important for me to not smell like a mold farm. I wash myself and my hands at what I consider a normal amount but from observing others, quite a bit more than most people. It’s not a difficult thing and I feel physically better. It’s possible that feeling is just a circular affirmation for me but I suspect it is not.
My behavior toward viruses, bacteria, and fungus has grown out of conditioning. I grew up with my mom working in hospitals and I’ve never had the greatest immune system. Over time I either picked up habits I observed or found that I got sick from things that other people didn’t. I’ve read articles about how germs most often spread.
So as I go about the world, I’ve just always avoided touching those high traffic objects with the highest chances of germs on them. I mind which way the wind is blowing when people cough and sneeze. I wash my hands after shaking hands and always before eating anything from my hands. I take things to boost my immune system before traveling or being in a crowded place. It’s kind of second nature. I do keep most of it low profile though—since until now—avoiding pathogens has been regarded by most people as freakish, paranoid, and absurd.
Now in the strange days of COVID-19, the Coronavirus that changed the world, my behavior and tendencies are suddenly the middle of the spectrum. Now we have millions of people going dangerously freakish, painfully paranoid, and comically absurd. We have the people in denial on one end (making themselves and others sick) and people poisoning themselves (in failed attempts at disinfecting) on the other. It’s a very bad thing, especially in this time of facts being treated as opinions by so many misguided souls; and inequity making people so purchasable by the rich and influential.
I know most people aren’t used to this. It’s only natural make mistakes and be very uncomfortable doing so. But maybe the reactions don’t have to be so, ya know, extreme?