The shiniest are the grossest

I have a cold. Snotty nose, sore throat, and sudden desire to increase liquid and chicken soup intake aside, this recent bout of sickness has made me think of an experiment my human anatomy class did in high school. We went around the school in groups and swabbed areas that we thought were filled with germs, stored them for a day, and then compared the bacteria growth.
As few of us suspected, it wasn’t the toilet seat or other places thought to be unsanitary that produced the most germs. The doorknobs, the money, and the pen at the attendance clerk’s desk (places that everyone loves to touch!) were some of the best places for germs to party. This was in 2004, but no one thought to swab a mouse or keyboard in the library or even their own cell phone, possibly because the latter would get them suspended. I wish I were kidding.
I spent quite a bit of time on the computer today, despite my fits of illness. Yes, I was a good patron and got up to wash my hands regularly and sneezed into a tissue. How often do we wash our hands when we’re well, though? Think of the things your hands come into contact with on a daily basis before you touch your keyboard and mouse. Now think of reintroducing your clean hands to your keyboard. Your phone is the same way, if not worse. Since very few of you probably clean your gizmos compulsively, take this as a lesson and clean your stuff.
Interestingly, these are the most expensive things we own, and yet they are probably the grossest. What does this say about our society?

When the Internet meets family

I told myself I wouldn’t write about my actual life too much in here, but an incident from today merited an entry. For those who don’t already know, I’m coming down with what I hope is just a cold: sore throat, slight fever (99.1F at last check), an occasional sneeze, generally not feeling my best. Naturally, I mentioned this on my LiveJournal and Twitter accounts, thinking nothing of it.

Then my mother called me this afternoon. “Are you sick?” she asked me.

“Yes,” I managed to croak. I asked her how she knew. My brother had told her. How did he know? He follows me on T-tw-twitter. Hearing her stumble over the word Twitter was worth the entire conversation, which did end in practical advice for sickness–after, of course, I convinced her that I’m not dying.

I wasn’t surprised. When the only information you’re given is not through face-to-face communication, or even through phone communication, you’re left with a lot of guesswork. Sick? That could mean a cold or pneumonia. Feeling blah? That could mean the occasional blues or the blues that are more than blues. Of course, my brother could have deduced that with a 99.1 temperature and a sore throat, I wasn’t that sick, but some things have to be a family affair–yes, even the Internet.

By the way, despite the sneezing, I’m not feeling worse. I’ve been drinking hot lemonade and tea like nobody’s business, though. Maybe some rest will be what it takes.