There’s No Way to Stay Clean

There’s No Way to Stay Clean

If you’ve been around me for more than an hour you know that I wash my hands a lot. I grew up in Guatemala and have had giardia, amoebas and all sorts of other critters in my stomach. I learned early on – wash your hands. I call it my third-world neurosis.

Last week I was in an airport. I washed my hands and headed toward a restaurant, careful not touch anything. The restaurant was really crowded, so I decided to go to another terminal. It was always calmer over there.

I stopped to think for a second about my clean hands. I mentally mapped my route and realized I could get to the next terminal without touching anything. That thought made me happy.

I walked toward the inter-terminal train. A lady called to me from a row of seats in the gate area.

“Excuse me sir.” I looked over at her, keeping my hands in my pockets. “Could you open this water bottle for me? I’m not having any luck.”

My mind began churning. I’ve never been asked to open a water bottle in an airport. Is this a conspiracy? What if that is the one woman in here with a serious disease?

I gave an awkward smile, grabbed the Dasani bottle and opened it. She thanked me. I smiled and walked away.

Standing on the escalator I looked at my hands and surrendered.

There really is no way to help people in this world without getting your hands dirty. Sometimes you even have to touch their germs. It’s risky. I have to remember that most things of any value in this life involve interaction with people. It seems worth the risk to me.