I think the Japanese have really got something.
Like most folks they’ve got a surplus of good, across the board, but the tradition of bowing and not shaking hands is extra fine.
I like the idea of a handshake as everyday physical endearment. But when people use that handshake to try to size me up, spin me, win some advantage, or to play some dumb joke, I have a gut reaction to break their teeth.
False and skuzzy everyday handshakes. The death grip. The investigational shake.
The old “down and in” and it’s degrading little pocket of a shake. The confrontational shake, to surprise and control.
Trust me there is a nasty world behind our handshaking institution. Just think of the germs.
So I’m on campus, on the john. A fellow enters the adjacent stall. He handles business noisily. Moderately uncomfortable, I’m thinking about journalism and how the theater department’s doing “Jesus Christ Superstar” this year.
I can’t fault the guy that his natural noises resound and disturb me.
Toilet paper roll spins in plastic container. Stall-shaking industrial WHOOSH-flush.
He just walks out without washing his hands.
The National Center for Infectious Diseases says it’s estimated, that nearly one out of three people don’t wash up after using the restroom. This is consistent with my experience. I make it a point to notice when people don’t wash.
I want to believe that we are rushing ourselves so much that we don’t have the time to wash but I fear the phenomenon is more sinister.
I imagine people leaving the restroom in a bit of a driven rush, yes, but with a sick inner smile, excited about spreading bad microbes with effects ranging from sore throats and diarrhea to meningitis. A psychotic selfishness, they are excited about getting away with it.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m down with filth as personal expression.
I live in heaps, a packrat sort of nester. I jive with dirt and grime when it’s truer and more comfortably human than alternatives.
But, hell, people, we’re shaking with fear and throwing money at terrorism while nurturing domestic everyday terrorists with domestic everyday terrorist hearts! Please wash up.
From now on you’ll have to excuse me if I skip the b.s. and bio-warfare handshake and just bow, or maybe nod to ya.