Recently I’ve seen articles popping up all over social media about the horror that is the Public Pool. I’m not exactly sure what these articles say since I haven’t clicked over to any of them, but I imagine the word FECAL appears a lot.
It’s become pretty standard these days to see studies that tell us about the dirtiest areas in the places we frequent. For a while, I couldn’t help myself, and every time I’d see one, I’d have to read it. Maybe if I was armed with knowledge I could eliminate all the nastiness around me to keep my family safe and healthy.
Then, just the other night, as I lay in a hotel bed desperately trying to keep the blanket from touching my face, it occurred to me: My family is safe and healthy. Do we get the occasional cold or stomach bug? Of course. So does everyone else, including the freakishly clean people.
The only thing that reading these studies does is increase my paranoia, which does an okay job all on its own, truth be told. So I’ve made an important decision:
I’m done with these studies. I’m done arming myself with knowledge that is only marginally helpful. I’m done freaking myself out for no good reason. Done.
If you see a study about any of the following six things and just have to read it, do me a favor, okay? Go ahead and read it. Fuel the fire of your disgust. But keep it to yourself! Don’t hit the share button. Don’t tell me why I should never go out in public ever again. Just don’t. I don’t want to know.
6 Disgusting Things I Refuse to Think About
1. Hotel Rooms
When I was a kid, staying in a hotel was a big thrill. My kids feel the same way. As soon as we enter that perfectly prepared room, they’re crawling on the floor and rubbing their faces on the blankets, and all I can think is, “STOP! DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING!”
But you know what? I’ve stayed in dozens of hotels and I’ve lived to tell the tale. We’re home from our most recent vacation and everyone is still healthy. So please don’t tell me about the top five spots that the housekeeping staff never remembers to clean. Don’t shine that black light to show where the bodily fluids are. I DON’T WANT TO KNOW. Sometimes ignorance truly is bliss.
If I knew about all the disgusting things that happen in restaurant kitchens, I would never eat out again. But I do eat out and I don’t get sick from it. In fact, the only time I’ve ever had food poisoning was when I ate something at a family dinner, not at a restaurant. So please keep that list of restaurants that didn’t pass inspection to yourself. If it was really bad, they would have been shut down. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.
3. Shopping Cart Handles
Of course I know these are dirty. Dozens of hands touch them every day. That’s why I spray my family down with hand sanitizer whenever we leave a store. I’ve got it covered, so please keep the statistics to yourself.
4. Public Restrooms
I could easily have nightmares about the horrors lurking in public restrooms. Up until recently, I would do everything in my power to avoid them at all costs. Unfortunately, now that I have a potty trained daughter, not only do I frequent them, but I also am trying to get over my fear of touching anything while in there. At this point in her life, hovering is just not an option, and as careful as I am to lay toilet paper on the seat first, it almost always shifts when I sit her down.
I really don’t need any extra germs to think about when I’m in there, so please don’t share that article about how many diseases hide inside the hand dryer.
5. Public Pools
I kinda covered this one in the intro, so I’ll be brief. Of course these places are germ-infested. People’s entire bodies are in the water. I’m going to blissfully imagine that the chlorine is strong enough to kill small animals and leave it at that.
6. Our Own Homes
Why yes, I am aware that my kitchen sink is dirtier than my toilet. That’s why I wash it out every. single. time. I do the dishes. I also am aware that that’s not even the dirtiest place in my house. I’m 99% sure I know what is, but I refuse to read the article that will confirm my fear because why would I want that weighing on my mind??
Look, the bottom line is this: Despite the fact (or maybe because of the fact!) that we stay in hotels, eat at restaurants, go grocery shopping, use public bathrooms, swim in public pools, and live in our home, my family is healthy and happy. I can spend hours reading studies and obsessing about the nastiness of everything around us or I can let us live our lives, relatively sure that those germs won’t lead to our demise.
You know what they say:
What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.
So stop showing me the studies already!