I choose organic and avoid meat, dairy, junk, and processed food.

New York City. A small dot on the map. A dot representing the whole world… as though the entire globe once started getting smaller and smaller until it reached the size of that little dot. People worldwide have been drawn to this city to receive higher education, do business, or seek a better life. As a result, more than 8 million people live peacefully regardless of socioeconomic status, nationality, or religion.

Tourists, new students, and first-time visitors have different things to say about this great city. Many are impressed, others are disappointed, and others are somewhere between. However, all of them agree on a few things… One of those, for example, is that they never expected a famous city like New York to have a dirty subway.

I was surprised by that, too, but I was not shocked. I have seen many bad and good things in New York City. I know that there is no perfect place. Every city in this world comes with its pros and cons. I love New York, as most people do, and I consider it the greatest in the world, if not the most beautiful. I am shocked, though, by one thing. One thing that many may laugh at, considering it a minor detail. Others may not have even noticed it. It is not the subway or anything involving the city but the people living there. No, do not take me wrong. It is not exclusively about New Yorkers. They are such great and kind people, after all. It is about all of us, people from all over the world, who live in this city, and by extension, New Yorkers. And it is not about any flaw we all have in common, but just an unhealthy habit. Every nation’s culture is represented in New York City. That makes my shock bigger because what I witness in this great city is probably seen in many other countries. That means I am shocked by something that is perhaps seen worldwide.

What shocks me in New York is hygiene. Not the general hygiene, but everything that has to do with hand hygiene. After years of living in New York City, I can confidently say that the whole world receives a low score for hand hygiene.

We all know that maintaining clean hands is one of the most important things to avoid being sick, less or more seriously. Who does not know that in the years we live? Would anyone eat today without a fork or spoon using bare dirty hands? I don’t think so… However, facts show otherwise! Let me mention here some only of the facts I witness every day, and then consider how clean we really are. After that, let’s never complain again when we get sick now and then or when we discover, all of a sudden, that we are seriously ill because of our poor hand hygiene.

No matter what I have touched before, money, cellphone, poles on the subway… I always enjoy my food with bare hands:

I eat my sandwich without using a napkin or something clean to hold it, or at least holding it from its cellophane wrap… and I lick my fingers afterward. Perfect!

After finishing their meal, I wipe my babies’ mouths with my bare hands. Practical!

. . .

I always take with my bare hands a few chips, candies, or whatever I am sometimes offered by friends who want to share. Of course, I always say yes to food!

I always put the gum in my mouth with bare hands without carefully holding it from its wrap. It is just gum, no need to pay attention! 

I put the desserts on the plate with my bare hands. What if I am the owner of the restaurant or the chef? Customers never know what is going on in the kitchen. After all, it’s delicious!

. . .

I let my kids touch the subway seats and then put their hands and fingers in their mouths. They then may eat their sandwich with bare hands. It’s not a big deal. Some millions of people sit there every day, clean or not. No worries, kids… We have good doctors in the city!

I eat my burger with bare hands… and lick my fingers again with the ketchup and mustard on them. No comments!

I start my lunch and dinner by enjoying freshly toasted bread with butter. I washed my hands 3 hours before. They are super clean. In the meantime, I keep them in the air without touching anything!

. . .

I love licking my salty fingers while enjoying my nuts at work. I wipe them on my jeans a few times and again in my mouth…

I am kind and give my friends whatever food is left at the end of the party. I put it all in plastic bags and containers with my bare hands. Who will notice? We are all absorbed by exciting conversations!

I prepare or serve food at home, but I never remember when I last washed my hands.  But, that’s fine, my family only will eat that food! 

. . .

Nail-baiting is my favorite habit. I don’t need a nail clipper; I save money and can do that anytime. My nails are delicious!

It goes without saying… But what a shame! Fast food chains serve French fries and chicken nuggets without a plastic fork. It is taken for granted they are eaten with… hands. And if you ask for one, they look at you as if you had come down from Mars. What a civilized and ideal world!

I handle the money and food in the restaurant—no gloves, of course, when serving food or taking money. I am faster that way. It makes sense!

. . .

I handle only the money in the deli. I work at the register. I also give the spoons, forks, and knives. I grab them and give them to customers without being careful to hold them from the top. My dirty hands from touching the money touch them also everywhere. However, I’m careful to place them on the napkin on their tray!

With my finger, I put lip balm on my lips from that mini jar, but I don’t remember when I washed my hands. However, I would never touch my finger on a sidewalk and put it in my mouth.

I always wondered why straws are always wrapped in paper. I always tear the paper off, hold the straw from the top with my dirty fingers, at its part going in the mouth, and then put it in my soda plastic cup. Don’t complicate my life more! 

 . . .

I peel and eat my orange and apple on the subway. My hands are always clean and sanitized… and at school, I was called Pinocchio!

I always open my soda can without cleaning its top surface. The always-clean small aluminum part swims in my soda before I drink it. Plus, it goes without saying again… No straw here; I sip directly from the can that might have been stored in that mouse-filled supermarket storage basement. Drinking my soda with a straw is not masculine!

I go to the restroom and don’t wash my hands afterward. However, the right thing would be to wash them and before. I save water!

. . .

I will never end this post if I also start writing about foot hygiene. Just to mention only one: I walk barefoot in the locker room in the gym. I take my shower and then again barefoot back to my locker. What if I had walked before on that dog-droppings-filled sidewalk? I wear new socks now and will sleep on my freshly laundered sheets at night!

This is me. Do I need science to tell me that hand hygiene is essential? It is a matter of common sense. But I have long lost common sense because I am a bit lost. I applaud the human race. I give it a standing ovation. I am the most intelligent and wisest creature on earth. I would never get out my tongue and lick a subway seat, but I do the same and even worse in one way or another.

But do not forget, I choose organic and avoid meat, dairy, junk, and processed food…

We have been to the moon but still need to learn simple things that improve life. So, unfortunately, we should go back to the basics. So, back to basics for a healthier world!

Published: November 27th, 2023 | Last Edited: November 27th, 2023 | THE SMART GUIDE TO HEALTH | All Posts |



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