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Friday, September 25, 2009


It's official, although some of you figured this out about me long ago. I am OCD. You know about my counting; stairs, steps, etc., But it's gotten worse since the car accident and getting PTSD, but in all honesty... I have to ask you a bold question. How could you not be OCD in today's world???

I stopped at a local Dollar General store to get some small, clear tubs to store some of my art supplies in. On my way to the back of the store where storage products are kept I heard a woman coughing. Not just a "clear your throat kind of cough" but the kind that makes you wonder, "Why isn't she at home in bed?" Then I saw she was stocking shelves, and breaking down the boxes to put in a recycle cart. I remembered I needed a small box to send a special surprise goody box to my kids.

My first thought approaching the bin of multiple sized cardboard boxes was not which one fit the size I needed BUT rather, "Moly Holy... She touched all of these boxes, and they are now contaminated with who knows what!"

She coughed again. Deep chest cough, the kind that once you start you know will cause a landslide of more gut wrenching coughs to follow. "Ewwwww... grossness!" My mind was racing. I need a box. But do I want one of these boxes she touched with her cootie hands?

Next I begin chastising myself for being so paranoid about germs and cross contamination. Geez... What is wrong with me??? I make a decision based on availability, easy access and then ask her if I can have a couple of the boxes in the bin.

"Sure. Help yourself." She said which immediately sets off a chain reaction of coughing by just talking to me. I could visualize angry, hungry germs flying through the air looking for a host, a body to cling to, a victim who's nose was inviting to swarm in, a..... I could go on, and on, and on. [I know pathetic, isn't it?]

I rationalize to myself she couldn't have touched every inch of the box, and pick it up with my thumb, and index finger which I immediately wipe on my pants as if THAT'S going to instantly sanitize my mitts. I proceed to look for tubs, and for a moment the voices in my head quiet down.

I'm overjoyed when I find some suitable storage bins in festive colors in the clearance aisle. YIPPY SKIPPY! I'm doing a happy dance in my head until I notice there's no price on the bins. I look up to see the woman still stocking, and coughing. I hesitate to ask her if she knows the price because I'm afraid she will want to touch it with her germy, wormy hands. But I do. AND yes, much to my horror she asks to see it, and reaches out for me to pass her the plastic bin.

"Oh God, no!" My heart races at the very thought of her touching it but I reluctantly hand it over to her like it was my child in slow, and I do mean IN SLOW mowwwwwwww-tion. Of course she didn't know the price, and handed it back to me telling me to take it up to the cashier to get it scanned for a price check. I take it back, thumb and index finger flexed as protective pinchers, then immediately place it back on the shelf faraway from the other bins I gather up to take to the cashier for a price check.

I turned my cart, complete with cardboard boxes stored down below away from my new found storage treasures, back toward the check out counter. I'm meandering through the aisles looking at off brand name labels, and too good to be true 20 lb canned hams for only $5.00, humming softly to myself. For a moment, I am not thinking of all the germs lurking in the shadows waiting to pounce on me like a vampire, when I hear another person coughing. Oh great, the woman stocking is up at the cashier counter--just my frapping luck.

BUT Nooooooooooooooo.... it is not her. It is another employee happily chatting, and coughing while she's scanning a woman's purchases who appears to be totally unaffected by the non-stop coughing. I'm trapped with coughing, hacking people in surround sound. Suddenly I have claustrophobia, too, and it's all I can do to keep from running out the door.

"Suck it up!" I command myself to stop the OCD chatter rolling through my head at warp speed. I also remind myself to refrain from tucking my head down in my tee shirt because she may think I'm going to rob her with just my eyes exposed above my make shift mask.

It's now my turn. Every item in my cart has to be turned over to her to touch. At this point I have to point out to her that she has a nasty cough. Why? I suppose to scold her just a little, and to make myself feel a little better. But it was also a covert way of telling her to "GO HOME if you're sick! Don't you know you are spreading your disease to all of us out here in Dollar General Store Land????"

"It's a dry cough!!!" she barked back, and her friendly check out demeanor ended right then, and there.

The only thing that consoled me a bit was the fact that she didn't have to touch everything, just one of them if I showed her how many I had in my cart by counting each one out loud to her. This gave me the courage to continue, and less time to have to stand there breathing as shallow as possible without passing out. I'm doing just dandy until it comes time to pay for the items. I run my card through the machine, and want it to be registered as credit not debit which I have to ask Miss Cranky Coughing Pants to change.

"I'll have to see your card." She says without giving me any eye contact. Had she been looking up she'd have seen the green pallor wash over my face. My credit card is not signed on the back. I have always printed Ask For I.D. on the back of all my cards. Not only did I have to hand her my credit card to look at but I also had to hand over my driver's license. I'm screwed... any way you look at it I'm a sitting duck for the cooties to land on.

It was raining when I left the store, and I suppose it washed away some of my anxiety--soothed my wrinkled forehead still frowning in disgust. I know, I know. People have to work, and they may not be able to afford missing a day of work. BUT BUT BUT BUT BUT!!!!! People need to understand some of us out here do not like volunteering to roll in a petri dish of potential Swine Flu!

OK I've said. I let the voices in my head out to chat to you. Someone please tell me I AM NOT NUTS and it's OK to be protective of your personal breathing space! Thank you!


  1. I don't think Dollar General has paid sick days, but you're not alone. Even though I understand some people just have to work, even when they are sick, I picture the cooties. I do. I picture them penetrating my skin. Yeah, I do the wipe thing and realize it won't help.

    Maybe I shouldn't be telling YOU this... I worry more about the handles on grocery carts and public pens...

    Back in the olden days, when we actually used real ink pens to sign the charge slip, I always used my own; but now, I don't have that option. The drug store, the grocery store, they all have those plastic pen things attached to the little black box. Do you know how many cooties must be on that thing?

    Oh, I knew I shouldn't have told you...

  2. Ohhhhhh I am phobic about shopping carts and pens, too. And don't get me started on condiments or menus in a restaurant... Or public bathrooms! LOL sigh.......

  3. Eeewww! You just reminded me of a horrible lunch! Well, the lunch was OK, but watching the kid at the next table lick the salt shaker top...

  4. I'm with you on this. If you're hacking up a lung, STAY HOME!

  5. I'd have doused myself in Lysol after that shopping trip.

    I was never worried about that stuff until all the Swine Flu media excitement. Now I'm more careful that I used to be.

    Hang in there and thank gawd for Purell and wipes!


  6. Carry some of that hand sanitizer and clean everything off before you put it back in your wallet.

    I guess I ought to be more careful of germs. It's all I can do to remember to wash my hands.

  7. Yeah, you're nutz. I rely on being healthy enough to ward off other's hardships(vitamins & pos thinking) I've been there, working from my death bed, sometimes you CANNOT take off work, even if you can afford it. Take off work, lose thy job. Sad and true.

    That said, thank you for the beautifully written account of your trip to the Dollar Store, it cracked me up!!!
    hugs and Peace (of mind)

  8. I have spray hand sanitizer in my purse for those times. A dry cough? WTH? Do germs not fly out if the cough is dry?
    This is what I keep telling my employees: if you are sick, stay home and wash your flippin hands often. I am OCD too and that kind of stuff makes me even crazier!

  9. First of all, I think we are all a tad bit OCD to an extent.

    Secondly, no, you aren't crazy. Yes, the germinator should have been home - not handling products that other people are purchasing, or personal items such as IDs or cash!

  10. No you are not over reacting. People should be using hand gel and masks. This year it's not just the flu but the swine flu... It's always better if you can, not go to work when you have a cold with a fever, but economically a lot of people can't afford to do that, so, we can protect ourselves a little by using the sanitizer gel or sanitizing wipes. And, for the sick people, they should be wearing masks. And worst case, you can always wear a mask. (hey Michale Jackson used to).

    Good hand washing is another good way not to spread those pesky germs. We can't stop every cold or flu from going around but I agree with you here, it sounds like these 2 needed to be home or in this day and age, wearing a mask. She's a little right about the dry cough though and if the other didn't have a fever, was a smoker or something, it might be might not be something that's real contageous.

    Use the paper towel to turn on/off the water or turn knobs in bathrooms etc... It's OK to be causcious, i actually consider it to be smart and health concious.

    Next time when someone coughs like that, yell "hey watch it" while your looking down and brushing off your sleve or or blouse etc... If nothing else, it'll make em think and maybe next time they'll cover their mouth.
    Love and Light. Nina P

  11. Maybe I'm the one who is nuts but I figure it's a germ & virus filled world and the more I isolate myself from it the less chances my immune system has to build its defenses.

    I take a lesson from the aboriginal peoples all over the world that have been decimated from invaders who brought heretofore unknown diseases with them.

    *shrug* I don't worry about anything, this life here is too damn short to let obsessive care kill even more of it.

  12. No I dont think your phobic... nowadays it seems that the fear of getting sick is everywhere. And there is no worse place to possibly get it then in a public place...We could all get portable bubbles to move around in... Sometimes it seems that is not a bad idea...

  13. You have every right to be concerned about those germs. We need a health care plan so people can stay home we=hen they're sick and afford to see a doctor!

  14. Lille-it seems that those that care the least get by and those that fret and worry get nailed. Way too many opportunities in this crowded world for icky stuff. Just dive in and say WTF. Have a clean weekend. ~rick

  15. I believe there is a little OCD tendencies in all of us, too. I love my quirks, and embrace my self-made goofiness. Yes, I am a dork. I love that about myself. I am a Meg Ryan clone who gets urges to dance in the aisles at the store, and I do it with carefree abandon. Just ask Superman.... He loves that about me, too. [good thing, huh?] I love being me.

    So many great comments, and thoughts posted by all of you... I really think it comes down to making wise choices to protect ourselves, and be protective of others.

    I spent many years without health care, and know the feeling [all too well] of not being able to afford meds or even going to the doctor. I've also had jobs that didn't provide health care or sick days, plus I was a single mother who couldn't afford to miss work, too.

    I don't want to live in a bubble or isolate myself from the world. BUT I do want to be responsible, and protect myself as needed.

    My main hope, and plan of how I live my life, is with humor. I can usually find it readily waiting for me in any situation, even in a store with stereo coughers or dancing with myself in the bread section because I caught a buzz just smelling that heavenly scent of bread right through the wrappers.... Gotta go now. I need some carbs~

  16. Both of our shepherds are German but my MIL had 4 Belgiums over the years. The last one got hit by a car but the previous ones all got some form of hip or leg cancer. They were great dogs!

  17. You are very funny and I have to say, I think you should stay away from those boxes.

    Renee xoxo

  18. OMG, I feel you! Got an experience on a facial salon. The one who gave me a facial is sick with cough and colds. She's wearing a mask but goodness! She shouldn't be working, the fact that she handles customers' faces! Gross.

  19. I did a little research and came across the term 'misophobia', also spelled 'mysophobia'. It is the medical term for the fear of "being contaminated with germs or dirt." Pair that with some OCD tendencies and you have... My mother.


  20. ~~Scattered Rhythms... Ummmm I am your Mother... LOL And it is my greatest joy~~~

  21. Wow! You are stronger than I am... I would have RUN out of that store as soon as I heard the first person hacking their lungs up.

  22. I'm ocd also, you are OK, I go grocery shopping early usually so there won't be so many people in the store to cough on me.

  23. my sister in law called me a "girl" for not wanting my hotel towels placed on the hotel bedspread. We all know whats on those! But a "girl" has to be careful.

  24. I don't like it when people come sick to the office. They have sick days, but they come in because they don't want work to pile up. I get really upset when there's someone coughing up a lung near my workspace. Yuck!

    Stopping by from SITS.

  25. I can relate to this - I hate being in close places with so many people - especially when you know someone is sck/coughing/whatever!
    As we get closer to flu season the anxiety will just increase!
    Thanks you so much for stopping by - you certainly know how to uplift a person! It is actually your blog that has inspired me!
    Do take care.

  26. omg. i don't even know where to begin. shopping carts like said before...YUCK. doors to bathrooms or stores ect. YUCK. scavenging through make-up products that tons have touched or trying on clothes. YUCK. omgggg the cc machines and pens. OOBER YUCK. even the food products we bring home. WHO KNOWS?!

  27. Oh yes, I DO relate. YUCK! But it's true that "germs" are everywhere (some are good actually). Now think (don't think) about who handled those boxes or whatever before you. Basically, keep your hands and fingers out of your eyes, nose, mouth, and you can survive. People coughing on you is another matter all together.
    My friend the nurse said that friction kills germs. You have to rub your hands together vigorously for 20 seconds.
    Your story was compelling, your humor wonderful!

  28. Lol! You crack me up! X:-) ...and just between you and me i think that we all secretly think like this... Me? i keep a bottle of that "Cootie killer spray" in my handbag and press everything with my knuckle instead of my finger tip X:-o!

  29. I loved this story. You write so well.

    I've been a little crazy myself with working around money. The filthiest objects in the world. I've started carrying hand sanitizer everywhere.

    Maybe it's just a 40 thing?
    In my 30s I would have eaten a dollar bill sandwich, now I'm ready to spray them down with Lysol and use tweezers to make change.


Thanks for stopping by Woodstock Lily! Leave a comment and I'll reply as soon as I can~


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