Boy, did I dodge a bullet this summer. I came this close (and $3,000 shy) of taking a romantic vacation with my husband. After seeing photos of my friends living it up in London, Paris, Bucharest, Anchorage, and Seattle, I set about planning the perfect vacation – in my head. We would fly to Montreal and then take a quick jaunt over to Quebec City where I would practice my French which consists of three words I have gleaned from my daily crossword puzzling and the days of the week that I learned in 7th grade. Coupled with that knowledge plus a love of croissants, I would easily navigate us through the narrow streets and cobbled pavement that is Canada (or so I’m told).
There was just one catch (okay, two if you count the money problem): I had to leave my home to do all of this. And as I learned from all of those Rossen Reports on The Today Show, leaving your home can be very dangerous to your health.
On my imaginary trip to let’s say….anywhere…. I begin my battle with germ warfare with those nasty bins at airport security. After retrieving my belongings along with a handful of strange mutant viruses, I narrowly make it past the sexual deviant posing as a TSA officer. Upon boarding, I touch the outside of the plane and instruct my husband to do the same. I think it was Marge who told me to do this in order to prevent the plane from careening to the ground midflight. After settling myself in my seat, I place my newspaper in the pocket in front of me right alongside someone’s used tissue. Apparently, there are millions of lethal germs on the seat buckle, so after using the bathroom, I attempt to rebuckle using nothing but my elbows. I land at said destination, rent a car and sign a contract stating that I plan to bring the car back with a full tank, a steering wheel teeming with the fecal matter from the driver before me and a few unidentifiable stains still intact on the floor.
Ahhh. Time to relax in our hotel room. But first I take in the beautiful view of the ocean or the mountain or - with my limited budget – the parking lot. I open the patio door, take in a deep breath full of exhaust fumes from the cars below and then it’s off to work. Bag the remote! Clorox the door handles, phones and light switches! Pull down the comforter! Actually, remove the comforter entirely. Stash it on the balcony! I’m like a one-man biohazard team.
My husband, meanwhile, fills up the grimy ice bucket, pours himself a drink in one of those unwashed glasses by the sink and lowers himself on the sofa. Not so fast! I rush over with a bath towel and throw it down before he has a chance to sit. Eying him warily, I whip out my travel collapsible cup, my travel blanket, and search for the Holy Bible. I must pray that the shower curtain doesn’t skim my body while I’m bathing. It’s a dirty housekeeping secret that they only wash those things every three months. I pull down the sheets and do a spot check, shine my phone’s light on the mattress to look for bedbugs and quickly don slippers so my feet don’t touch the stained carpet.
Now it’s finally time to relax. I’m exhausted from my germ warfare vigilantism. My husband suggests a quick dip in the hotel’s hot tub. I tell him about the documented case of a man contracting Legionnaire’s disease from those cesspools of warm muck. He shrugs, grabs his swim trunks and waves goodbye. I curl up on the stripped down bed with one eye on my book and the other on the nightstand handle I forgot to swipe. I fall asleep and dream of vacationing in my own bed with my own dust mites and my own seldom-washed mattress pad. It really is true: There’s no place like home and no germs like your own.
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