Sunday, June 5, 2011

Quality Gloves and Psychological Liberation

Yesterday I gave our garage a long-overdue Spring cleaning. Although I couldn't stand the mess that it had become, I had been reluctant to clean it because my hands would get dirty. I've long had a problem with getting my hands dirty, which apparently goes back to before I was in kindergarten. I don't have a Howard Hughes-esque fear of germs; it's more of a severe discomfort with having grit, grease, oil, or dust on my hands. And the discomfort isn't just caused by the fact that there's grime on my hands; it's also caused by a fear of making clean surfaces or objects dirty with whatever is on me.

Unlike those with OCD, I don't have the need for ritualistic hand washing. Instead, I have the need for general cleanliness that is characteristic of OCPD (OCPD is very often confused with OCD). For that reason, in addition to when normal people would wash their hands, I wash mine after eating, after handling any sort of food, when I come in the house after having been outdoors (even if I didn't really touch anything), after coming into contact with dirty or gritty surfaces, or whenever I simply feel like my hands need washing (usually once an hour). Unfortunately, the same compulsion that makes me avoid getting dirty also drives me to want to clean and organize things.

Now that's more like it
Well, last year my company put a group of us into a one day NASCAR-themed training program in which we were trained to perform a pit crew's job on a race car (although I don't care for NASCAR, the training was actually entertaining and surprisingly applicable to our company). Of course the idea of even doing that type of work made me very uncomfortable until I found out that they were going to put us in pit crew jumpsuits and give us gloves. The Mechanix Wear brand gloves we used were designed for pit crews, so they protect your hands while still allowing you a good sense of touch. Since they were ours to keep after the training, I took them home and put them in my toolbox. When I finally decided to clean out the garage this weekend, I pulled on the gloves and went to work.

The effect of the gloves was liberating. Despite insect carcasses, dust, dirt, moldy leaves, grass clippings, cobwebs, etc., I was able to do all the cleaning I needed without the usual psychological issues. And, unlike gardening or standard work gloves, the mechanic's gloves gave me plenty of dexterity for sweeping, picking up small rocks, and even for gathering scraps of paper off the floor. At the same time, they protected my hands while I was breaking up boxes with a utility knife. For anyone who is interested in these types of gloves, you can buy them on Amazon.

I often wish it were socially acceptable to wear gloves all the time.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails