April 9th, 2012

Crossing The Line

I was with a group of friends a while ago and we got onto some subject that led me to explain my hand-washing procedure:

(For public washrooms)

-turn on water
-roll out sufficient paper towels
-wet hands
-soap up
-sing through “Happy Birthday” twice (usually in my head) while scrubbing
-dry hands
-use paper towels to turn off water
-throw away paper towel (unless the exit door opens inward, then “use paper towel to open door” before throwing paper towel away

There were nods of agreement, and some questions about the process.  I explained that I had modified the process to be more efficient here and there, but everyone seemed to think it was about right.  (Side note: I don’t think I mentioned the singing part to them, which probably would’ve made them think I was crazy.)  I also mentioned that I was looking for ways to save water in the process because I sometimes think about how much water I’m using in a day.

That’s when someone said, “Why do you turn the water on before you roll out the paper towels?”

I was feeling safe and accepted at this point, so I told them without hesitation: “To let the water heat up.”

Well apparently you can have all manner of weird little quirks when you’re washing your hands except for letting the water heat up. That was the final straw and I was roundly mocked. Pardon me for wanting to wash my hands with warm/hot water like you’re supposed to!

Since then I’ve considered it more, and the water at work never really warmed up anyway, so I was probably wasting water. I’ve adjusted my routine there. I can’t help wondering, though, how many quirks we allow people in different situations.  “You can do this, this, this, and this, but the minute you do that other thing?  Hoo boy. You’re crazy!”

From here out I’ll refrain from revealing my quirks to people, I guess. Well, except for here on the blog, because if it weren’t for quirk talk, the blog would be maybe six entries.

9 Comments on “Crossing The Line”

  1. YoBro says:

    And this is the sort of thing sociologists love. And get grant money for.
    Ironically, they’re some of the quirkiest people you’re going to meet.

  2. daniel says:

    You don’t need to worry about germs on the handles when you turn on the water because you’re about to wash your hands. That’s a dumb question on your friend’s part about why you don’t use the paper towel to turn on the water.

    • madmup says:

      Yeah, I hate touching that handle, but I do because I am about to wash up. I don’t touch that thing with my hands after washing, though!

  3. Brian Arnold says:

    I would agree generally that letting the water warm up feels like a waste of water. Using cold water to wash is perhaps less effective, but your thorough scrubbing is going to make up for that.

    • madmup says:

      My brain knows this, it’s just a matter of making it into habit now. Warm/hot water has the added benefit of not having freezing hands after washing with cold water… but I really am working on this change :)

  4. d4v34x says:

    You need to google up “The perfect bathroom plan”. Stuff I know from my kids. Sheesh.

  5. Brian Arnold says:

    I saw this video today and it made me think of this post, so I had to come back and share.


    It’s not saving water, but it’s saving paper, which is also important.

  6. […] I talked about my handwashing process. This is a process I’ve been working on for years, but I’m always open to suggestion. […]

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