Throwback – I wash (and dry) my hands of it!

I know it’s a little late for a Throwback Thursday post, but I just had to share this sight that awaited me at work today.

hand dryer.png
How long has it been since you’ve seen one of these things?  I asked my coworkers and one person’s reply was, “Gross.  Truck stop maybe 10 years ago”.  Another quickly replied, “I’m gonna go with “never” for 800, Alex.”  Clever coworkers I have.

I remember last (and probably first) seeing one of these older towel dispensers in Italy back in April 2013.  I wasn’t quite sure how to handle it, and I too was grossed out by it.  Yet I’m the same girl who wipes her face in her body towel and doesn’t wash it for close to two weeks.  So maybe I need to rethink my standards of what counts as gross.

This contraption is known as a reusable towel roll.  The idea is that after washing your hands, you can tug on the towel and expose a portion of “fresh” towel with which to dry your hands.  It turns out that these continuous roll systems are (according to some) the most hygienic hand drying tool available.  Apparently, people do not do a good job in general of washing their hands thoroughly, so often it is the hand drying portion that in fact removes more bacteria from the hands by way of either heat or mechanical means (i.e. wiping the hands).  I never thought about it, but according to the hand washing experts, wet hands actually transmit much more bacteria than dry hands.  Some interesting things I learned from this article as to the negative repercussions of other hand-drying systems….

  • Paper towels often do not make it in the trash can.  Guess where some end up.  That’s right – inside the toilet.  The paper towels clog them.  Thus leading to more contaminated restrooms.
  • You know those fancy Dyson dryers with narrow openings you stick your hands in?  Those may get your hands dry quickly, but they might actually be blowing the bacteria off of your hands with those high speed fans but then back into the air or your clothes.  In fact, some FDA regulations require that food establishments with this style of hand dryer actually have other (more hygienic) means of drying hands.  This stuff kind of makes me not want to use those fancy things anymore.
  • And then there’s the regular warm air blower.  Turns out those things might actually be blowing more bacteria onto your skin than you started with because they’re typically just recirculating the icky restroom air.  Ew.

All of this lovely information I learned by reading the article at:  http://www.dberkhoudartchitect.com/2012/03/new-research-proves-cloth-roll-towel-systems-crt-more-hygienic-than-air-dryers/
Read it for yourself, but take it with a grain of salt.  🙂

Sorry that this post was not so much a feel good one.  But some lessons just hit you smack in the face.  This might just cause me to reevaluate my prior choice to put my mouth under the fun jet dryer to see my cheeks puff up.  On a side note, if you haven’t done this or witnessed it, you’ve got to try it.  Never mind the mouth full of bacteria that might be involved!
sky dive

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Ever run a marathon?

As of today by 12pm in Raleigh, NC about 8,500 people crossed the finish line in the Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon and half-marathon.  I imagine for many of the participants, this was a an item that they can now cross off their bucket list.  I personally have never aspired to run in a marathon.  I think my legs and lungs would give out well before I reached the 26.2 mile mark.  However, I was fortunate enough this morning to be stopped in traffic due to the race course.  As I was sitting somewhere along Gorman Street, I couldn’t help but notice the expressions of those passing by.  Before I realized it, I was drawn in.  Some were wearing crazy outfits.  Some traveled in pairs.  Some were by themselves.  Some ran, some walked, others shuffled along at a pace that fell somewhere in between.  Some wore smiles.  Some had a mixture of sweat and tears rolling down their face.

Rocknroll marathon

Photo courtesy of Chris Baird / WRAL Contributor

As I observed these ordinary people, I noticed that very soon I was the one with tears in my eyes.  These were not professional athletes like I had imagined would be the only type of person willing to succumb their body to that level of stress.  No, these were mothers, fathers, community members, your average Joes.  And it would seem all of them, no matter what walk of life they came from – they all had a reason they were running.

Once traffic started moving again and I had dried my tears, I began to notice other players in this marathon.  Standing and sitting on the side of the road were volunteers and neighbors passing out water and constantly cheering the participants on.  For all the hate that exists in the world, I could see none in that moment.  The tears came back just as easily.  And all this I observed from behind the steering wheel, sitting in the middle of the road on my way to church.  It was as if God reached out and said, “Look at my creation.  Aren’t they amazing?”

I once asked a friend if he admired man-made art or nature more.  His response was that he admired God’s creation most.  Yes, I think that sums up how I felt this morning.  I’m sure God is also proud of us from time to time.

Congratulations to all the runners who dared take on the triple H threat that is Raleigh: heat, humidity, and hills. (Plus there’s the pollen which can do a number on your sinuses!)  You obviously fought the good fight and finished the race strong.  May we all be inspired by the purpose behind your endeavors.


Racing themes in scripture:  2 Timothy 4:7;    1 Corinthians 9:24;     Philippians 3:14;     Isaiah 40:31

Sitting in a Coffee Shop

You know what’s interesting?  Everyone in a coffee shop manages to stay in their own little world.  I don’t know how they do it.  I so badly want to find out what these other people are doing.  Is this man in front of me a novelist coming up with a fresh twist in his plot line?  Is this girl beside me a college student working on a paper that’s due tomorrow?  Is this couple nearby discussing a project at work?  Are they meeting for a casual post-work date?  Are they in an interview right now?  Who is this person sitting behind me, whom I have barely visually acknowledged but who fills my senses with his presence and the sound of crunching chips?  Is that woman in the corner who is deeply entranced in her book a former drama or music teacher, or maybe even a retired actress?

And then our eyes meet briefly… for an instant the walls between us come down.  And then just as quickly those walls rise up again…

Alas, I am not cut out for the coffee shop mentality.  I have too many questions – too much curiosity to sit quietly as these lives pass me by.  And yet it becomes so easy to drown out the rest of the world, here in this coffee shop, and pour out my most intimate thoughts and feelings.  Perhaps this phenomenon can henceforth be referred to as the Coffee Shop Effect.

Now I am reminded of a song:  Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop by Landon Pigg.  Take a listen if you’ve never heard this song.