My husband thinks I’m a germaphobe but I’m not. He grew up in a household of boys whereas I grew up in a household of girls. Sometimes our idea of what’s acceptable varies.
Once, on vacation, his luggage got lost and I caught him reaching for my toothbrush.
“What do you think you’re doing?” I asked.
“Borrowing your toothbrush,” he answered innocently.
“No, you’re not,” I said, disgusted. He thought I was kidding, until I ripped it from his hand.
We’d been married twenty years. Wouldn’t you think he’d know sharing my toothbrush was out of the question? Surely he hadn’t used it before?
Instead of using mine, he gave money to a hotel porter to pick him up some essentials. He brought back a toothbrush still in its package, only I noticed it had already been opened. It didn’t seem to matter to my husband though, and once again I had to rip it from his hand.
Incidents like that cause him to think I’m a germaphobe. But I don’t think I’m the only person who would react that way. And as far as that goes, doesn’t everyone flush a public toilet with their foot, use a paper-towel to turn taps on and off, and to open the door? Doesn’t everyone carry hand-sanitizer with them at all times, avoid touching handrails, operate a bank machine using only one finger, rinse their clothes twice, and leave a line-up when they notice the person scooping the ice-cream is the same person handling the cash?
Well, doesn’t everyone? Exactly! So it’s not me. It’s him.
When we were dating he’d take me to eat at restaurants like Aunt Jenny’s Kitchen or Pud’s All-Day Breakfast. Once, on the road, he took me to Tom’s Hard Luck Roost for Thanksgiving dinner.
He said places like that had character and good home-cooked food. I got past the plastic flowers and tablecloths, the smeared cutlery and the fact that the turkey was actually turkey loaf. But when a waitress walked from the kitchen with a cat trailing behind her, my meal was over.
Cats. It isn’t that I don’t like them. I do. I just have a thing about them going from the litter box, to the kitchen counter, to the top of the table on which you’re about to eat. That doesn’t work for me.
Jake, my mother-in-law’s twenty-pound, long-haired, green-eyed, feline devil, has free reign of the house. Once, I caught him licking my child’s toothbrush on the vanity, and he’s constantly being shooed from the tabletop.
He can do no wrong in my mother-in-law’s eyes though, and she laughed as she shared this story with me. My brother-in-law had visited with his new girlfriend, Susan. They stayed for the night and in the morning Susan showered. She came out of the washroom with her hair wrapped up in a big gray towel. Jake’s towel, it turns out. He slept on it, threw up on it and God knows what else, and there it was wrapped around Susan’s clean hair. My mother-in-law didn’t have the heart to tell her, and when she told me the story, I laughed til I cried.
Ever notice how things are so much funnier when they happen to someone else?
We visited my mother-in-law on the weekend. I grabbed a clean towel and headed for the shower, snickering again at the thought of poor Susan.
When I finished, I dried off, slathered on lotion, applied make-up, dressed, then reached for a comb and started on my hair. The comb had obviously come from my hairdresser/sister-in-law, as it looked just like the latest steel wide-tooth model I’d recently seen in a fashion magazine.
As I combed my hair, I looked down at the sink and noticed a dish filled with water. Jake. He liked to drink from the bathroom sink so she left a bowl for him.
Jake. Jake. Jake.
Suddenly, I thought of his long gray hair. I looked at the comb then down at the dish.
No. It couldn’t be.
I opened the bathroom door and yelled, “This comb on the back of the toilet . . .”