Adam Fucking Frantz

Archive for October, 2012

Letter #7 – October 13th, 2012 – “Jail is NOT for Germaphobes”

People used to call me a germaphobe quite regularly. It wasn’t like I wore a surgical mask and nitrile gloves everywhere I went, nor did I have a compulsion to wash my hands every five minutes. I just didn’t like to touch door handles … or handrails … or ATM machines … or ANYTHING in a public bathroom, and I was somewhat scared of airborne germs.
I’m actually the reason that restaurants have trash cans behind their bathroom doors. Why the fuck should a bathroom door be PULLED to exit?! Don’t they know how many people neglect to wash their hands? I am not touching that!
I scold my friends for absent-mindedly touching things in public, and I scold strangers for not covering their mouths when they sneeze. “Dude. Gross!” I say loudly, with my face tucked inside my shirt to avoid breathing in their airborne disgustingness.
Public bathrooms, especially at rest stops, were for pissing only. If I ever shat in a public bathroom, it was an E-MER-GEN-CY! Public showers, no thank you. I showered at the gym one time and walked, totally nude, past my also-totally-nude 8th-grade history teacher. Drove home sweaty instead, ever after. There are people in my community I really do not need to see naked.
I live in a different world now. A world without the freedom to do things your own way. A world with flesh-eating diseases that you just don’t encounter in the real world (MRSA). And in this world, this germaphobe shit just does not work. I am making some serious life adjustments here, and not because I want to.
Have you ever worn a friend’s socks or underwear, or flipped your own inside-out for another wear? Of course, we all have—less willingly for the latter, obviously. But how about wearing a stranger’s socks or underwear? How would you feel about that? Now, how about a stranger who is a convicted felon? I’m gonna go ahead and assume you’d rather not. When you come to jail, though, you don’t have that choice. You might be wearing the underwear of some heroin dealer, or a violent criminal, or even a sick-bastard pervert. Think about that at night, while you lie on your pillow … which has also been drooled on by the same unknown criminals. Fabulous, isn’t it?
My detestation for public bathrooms and showers has been overcome by my need to expel waste and clean all those damn germs off of me. That’s not to say that I do so without fear in my heart. I manage to touch as little as possible by using excessive amounts of toilet paper. I hold my breath as long as possible, and go at odd hours so I may shit by myself, instead of being surrounded by a symphony of gas expellations.
Showers are managed in a more dutiful fashion than at home of course. Staying as far away as possible from the walls and curtain, I quickly wash my hair, face, then body, taking special care not to drop the soap—because if that bar hits the floor, I don’t care how new it is, it will not be touching my body again …. YEEESSH! Washing feet is done with the utmost care, because as you slip out of your shower shoes (you didn’t honestly think this was a barefoot operation, did you?) and scrub your foot and between your toes, you have to take extra care not to lose your balance, or you’ll end up touching any one of the many scummy surfaces around you. Practice your flamingo stance, friends; you never know when it’ll come in handy.
Who knows, maybe this will be “good” for me—right? Maybe I’ll get over my germaphobia, and start smearing germs across every public surface I can find, like everyone else… Yeah. Or maybe I’ll be stocking up on nitrile gloves and doctor’s masks, and squirting hand sanitizer on EVERYTHING!
Germfully Yours,