Near as i can tell clean up your act columnists

My grandson and I were washing hands in the men’s room. An employee entered and I saw him pass behind in the mirror. After a bit, he left. I made a mental note that he had not washed his hands. I shuddered and made a face in the mirror. My grandson smiled at me. He knew. At the counter with our purchases, there he was. He reached for our snacks with his unwashed hands. Then he raked his index finger across the underside of his itchy nose and wiped his hand on his shirt. I told him I had left my wallet in the car and would be right back. We did not come back.

I had a little conversation with some girls behind the counter at another place. They told me they always listened for the sound of the air dryer or towel dispenser when somebody came out of the restroom.

Now, that’s all I do when the opportunity arises. I suppose that for the rest of my life I’ll be quietly checking who washes their hands and who does not. I’m stuck in a loop on that one, especially at public events where folks will be shaking hands.

It doesn’t matter if there is an ‘Employees must wash hands before returning to work’ sign posted or not. Some folks are just too lazy to bother. Cleanliness is not always guaranteed, but it is surely noticed when absent. Judy and I stopped in Herne some years ago. We pulled over at for a break at a brightly lit place that looked fairly clean on the exterior. I got my drink and gum and waited for Judy in the truck. She came back with a disgusted look on her face. I saw that eyebrow up. It was the ladies restroom that had her upset. She told me it was so bad that she complained to the man behind the counter. He was of foreign extraction, by appearance and accent. The man, she said, never responded to her, only looked at her like he would have whacked her with his sandal if they were back in the old country. Women don’t speak like that to men where he came from, Judy surmised. I asked her if he had threatened her. “No,” she said. “He just glared at me for having the gall to tell him the ladies restroom needed attention. Let’s go.” With that, we went. We have never returned. And every time we go by, we go by. I wonder if owners or managers ever stop to think how cleanliness affects business.

I am sure the “Clean Restrooms” signs you see sometimes came about from situations just like this. I honestly never thought much about it growing up but I’m a guy and guys are different than girls. I won’t make an issue of this except to say that when you leave cleanliness up to the menfolk, it is generally a smellier world.

I can always tell a bachelor’s home. It is different when there is a woman in charge. As I age, I change, if ever so slightly, hopefully for the better. I have become a cleaner person, personally and professionally, thanks to the untiring efforts of my beautiful, and clean, wife. What I took for nagging was really just her attempt to get me to cooperate in the process of maintaining a clean abode.

I was in a store the other day in another town, and I noticed that the floor was dirty and sticky. Worse than anything, it looked like somebody had actually tried to mop it, but they must have used dirty water. If my wife or mother had been in charge of that place, heads would have rolled. I mentioned the condition of the floor to the young girl behind the register. She said it wasn’t her job. She gave me my change. I noticed she made sure she didn’t touch my hand as she dropped the coins from an inch or so above. She didn’t want to touch another icky human but didn’t seem to mind them wading through the sticky gunk. I wondered later how Judy would have handled that store. I already know the answer. She would have routed the customers around the aisles until fresh hot water and detergent had been properly applied and dried. And she would have been applauded by the witnesses.