It’s amazing how much I want to touch my face. Like, all the time and everywhere.
Most especially, I want to rub my eyes. But REALLY rub them good and hard so they will never itch again.
Though while we’re on the subject, I really, REALLY want to spend a good hour scratching my nose. I don’t have a particular spot because the tingling shifts all the time. First it’s on the outside, then on the inside and then on the top and the bottom of every side.
Which is to say nothing of my mouth and my ears. If I weren’t eating everything in sight (Note: Not that there’s very much) or spending so many hours listening for updates and warnings on cable news, they’d bother me even more. That said, when those orifii (Note: Alternate plural for orifices) are not engaged it’s pure hell to resist the urge to, well, manhandle them in some every way.
In the age of COVID-19 self-quarantine/social distancing/pandemic land we’re not supposed to do a lot. But touching your face is among those at the top of the list of the WORST things to do.
It’s easy to understand why. The virus’ entry point is through any open membrane into your body exposed in everyday life. If you don’t live in a nudist colony, your face is Iwo Jima.
Or, if you don’t like war metaphors, you can think of it as a potentially fatal petri dish.
This is how I used to think about my acne-ridden face all through adolescence so for me that’s not a far reach. It’s more like a golden oldie.
Unless, of course, there is another way to think about this.
When I stop to ponder what I’ve just written only one word comes to my mind – insanity. It’s that kind of neuroticism I spent most of my adult life trying to undo through every means possible.
In particular, many years and tens of thousands of dollars of therapy come to mind. Let’s not even get into all the bad relationship choices, inappropriate acting out by any means necessary or the sheer abject solitary terror and loneliness.
So I’ll be damned if I’m going to let Covi drag me back now. Nor do I want you going down your own personal rabbit hole, however more creative yours might be. (Note: though I doubt it).
The crazy part of this face stuff is not the admonition to keep our hands and everything else away from that particular part of our person. Instead, it’s the absolutism with which we tell it to ourselves and shout it out to the world.
It’s true, you don’t want to be in an office, a public space or anywhere else and put your fingers where they shouldn’t be (Note: Good advice, even without a plague).
But if you’re at home alone and you’ve just washed your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water, well —
HAVE AT IT!!!
Truly. If you’re healthy nothing will happen to you. How could it? You’ve just disinfected (aka killed the virus) the means by which your death sentence will mutate.
Yes, I’ve exaggerated for dramatic effect. COVID-19 is not a death sentence for most. But for many, it’s not fun. And for many more other than yourself, it could be if you pass it on.
But you want to be mindful. And you want to be rational or you will kill the very reason you want to stay alive to begin with.
Fine, today’s not so great, even if you do like your house. Nevertheless it’s all we’ve got for now. In actuality, it’s all we’ve ever had. It’s just, well, it didn’t always seem that way, did it?
I don’t know about you but I don’t want to f-ck up today for myself more than outside circumstances already have.
This occurred to me this morning after I came back from a lovely morning walk with my dog, Rosie, took off her collar and leash, gave her a treat, took off my jacket and put it in the laundry room, scrubbed my hands thoroughly and then nearly slapped myself silly for having the urge to….itch the outside of my nostril with my bare finger.
Do I want to die, I thought for a split second.
And then I sneezed, confirming pretty soon I would die. In fact, it was imminent. Never mind that it’s the height of allergy season and I haven’t had my bi-weekly allergy shot in weeks. And that Rosie had decided this a.m. to sniff every tree, shrub, flower (Note: But no people, NEVER people) in sight.
Then suddenly I stopped. Maybe it was all that therapy or perhaps it was Rosie’s look at the crazy person in her kitchen.
But something in that moment made me ponder my runaway train thought processes, wash my hands one more time for good measure (Note: You never can be too careful), and then SCRATCH AWAY.
And I do mean everywhere.
(Note: Use your imagination).
In closing, all I’m saying is this:
You don’t have to scratch every itch you have but there is no point to any of this if you simply exist in a scratch free prison of your own making.
DO NOT take this as in invitation to party in the South Beach of your choice with your favorite teen or twentysomething.
But DO find a way to party on your own….with clean hands.