all of the selves we Have ever been
I am engaged in a high stakes battle right now.
No, it is not between my immune system and the coronavirus.
It is between my face and my hands.
I’ve come to a new realization about myself. I touch my face.
The current good advice “Don’t touch your face” causes me to think of nothing but my face. It is like saying, “Don’t Blink,” or “Don’t smile.” I immediately turn into a blinking, smiling fool. Someone says, “Don’t touch your face,” and I have a sudden itch or my nose starts to run. Is there something stuck between my teeth? Is that a pimple? I think I have a loose eyelash…
There is something in the human psyche that hears the word “don’t” and becomes driven to defy. I only wish I had the same determination when I am told what to do. Maybe I was not properly socialized. I am more like a feral cat that can’t stop licking its paws.
Off work now and hanging onto every word issued by government and health officials, I have begun to take notice of just how often I touch my hands to my face. The data is startling. I am developing my own statistical model. Apparently, my day job was just a side-show. My real life’s work is my face.
There is cleansing and grooming: make-up remover, washing, drying, brushing, and flossing. There is sunscreen and moisturizer. Make-up and lip gloss. Eyebrows need plucked and so do those pesky chin hairs. And at what point do you give up on all those dark spots and just call your face tan?
A pimple gets more attention than do most heart transplant patients in ICU. Feel the tingle of an erupting cold sore? That leads to more surveillance than the Department of Defense gives to the entire border of Russia. Might as well be the Cold War.
In the book of Matthew we are asked “why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?” Are you kidding me?! A plank in my eye, and I’m obsessed. I forget I ever had a brother.
No matter how hard I try to keep my hands away from my face, there they go! Before I’m fully awake in the morning, I realize I am rubbing my eyes. During intense focus at the computer, I pause typing to read a line and find my chin in my hand. Reading a book? Next thing I know my hand is twirling a strand of hair that has fallen into my face.
“Don’t touch your face.” Easier said than done.
And I thought staying home was going to be the hard part.