The Plague is Coming, Part 5 — How To Be a Germaphobe

In high school, my friend’s mom was a germaphobe. Sue’s mom had a very complicated system for containing the world’s microscopic creepy-crawlies. The house was divided up into various zones based on different standards of dirtiness.

The living room and dining area in the main part of the house were dirty zones; there was an alternative kitchen and living room in the older section of the house that was a clean zone. A dirty zone meant that only a handful of people were allowed in the house. These filthy outsiders (me) were allowed in certain areas of the dirty zone, once we took our shoes off. Those areas would be promptly cleaned with disinfectants after the fifty outsider left. She would remember where I sat and clean those chairs with rubbing alcohol later.

One time I made the catastrophic error of putting library books on the dining room table, because Sue and I were working on a group project for a social studies class. Library books were “dirty, dirty, dirty” and didn’t belong in the house at all.

She used to launder money. And not in the gangster sort of way. She would wash dollar bills in the sink and then hang them out to dry.

The rest of the house was divided up into increasingly clean zone with bedrooms being the only sterile place in her eyes. Family members would strip their clothes in the hallways and put on “clean” clothes that were only worn in the bedroom.

Yes, Sue’s mom had a lot of issues. But maybe it’s time to start thinking like Sue’s mom. It’s time to think like a germaphobe. As lots of smart people have pointed out, it’s coming. You’re probably going to get sick, but you might slightly improve your odds if you practice social distancing and clean like crazy.

Here are some measures that we’ve taken here at Apt. 11D:

  • When the college kid came home, I made him walk directly to the shower without bringing his bags in the house. We deep cleaned his phone, keys, wallet. We put the lanyard from his keys and the clothes directly in the wash.
  • I just picked up special cleaning wipes from Staples for the computer keyboard and mouse, but here’s more info on disinfecting electronics.
  • We’re washing all of our eyeglasses.
  • When someone comes in the house, they have to immediately wash their hands.
  • I have a tub of disinfectant wipes in the car that I use all day on the steering wheel, emergency break, and shift.
  • I highly suggest buying those items on Amazon right now, because they are long gone in every supermarket.
  • Last night, I took everything off the kitchen counter and did a deep clean. I’ll probably do that every night, until everybody in my family is home for good. Steve is still working in a building, where someone just tested positive.
  • Think closely about touching elevator buttons.
  • I’m going to wash bathroom towels and dish towels frequently.
  • I’m going to replace the kitchen sponge frequently. Don’t put a sponge in the microwave to disinfect! That just make the little buggies happy.

(I will keep adding to this list throughout the day. And several other posts are in the works.)