Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mr. Clean Comes On Vacation

A couple of days ago the kids watched the Tyra Banks show. We normally do not watch her, as we are not usually home at whatever time it is that she comes on. But, since we are traveling, we were off our “normal” routine, and happened to catch her show.

As luck would have it, the topic of her show was about how many germs are in hotel rooms. Since we have been staying in hotel rooms for the last several nights, my children became quite alarmed, and were absolutely certain that we would be dead before sundown.

When the show came on I was finishing my shower, so I didn’t even realize they were watching it until they were knee-deep into the heart of the program. At that point I couldn’t decide if I should flip it off, or let them watch the rest of the show, hoping that Tyra would leave us with some words of encouragement.

Silly me. Hope doesn’t sell. Fear, anger, disbelief, hate- those are all the media darlings. They create ratings beyond compare.

So as the show wrapped up, none of my kids wanted to touch anything in the room. Now, I’m not a huge fan of hotel rooms myself. I’ve always felt it was a little like renting bowling shoes to sleep in a bed that has been laid in by hundreds, maybe thousands, of people. But I was unprepared for their level of paranoia.

According to my kids, the carpet and bed had icky bedbugs that would contaminate our whole house, unless we deloused ourselves and our belongings at the front door. The bathroom glasses were either still germy from the prior guests, or filled with hazardous chemicals, sure to kill poor lab rats. And the bed’s comforter was a veritable host of germs, chemicals and stray DNA.

I wanted to say, “OK, how is this any different than renting a car? Or a movie? Or even handling money?” But, I could see that would only fuel the fire.

So, I changed the subject: “Who wants to go to the pool?” Three hands shot up, and they were all naked and then suited up before you could say “sanitizer”.

At the pool, I saw they were reluctant to touch the towels (a big cootie fest, as far as they were concerned). But I pointed out that the chlorine in the pool and hot tub alone could kill off everything in about a mile radius. The smell was so strong, it burned my nose. I have no idea how they withstood being in the water, but they managed.

By the time we had gotten back to the room, Tyra and her fear pedaling show was all but forgotten. The kids were still a little gun-shy around the comforters (who can blame them?) and door handles (there are a ton of germs on all door handles, really). But, for the most part, they were fine with jumping up and down on the bed, sleeping on the pillows and walking across the carpet.

Lesson learned? Only let the kids watch Nickelodeon and Disney Channel (like at home). And thank the Lord above she wasn’t talking about something else- like how to find out who the father of your baby is; or, interviewing a drug user who shared their secrets about how they were able to keep their chemical dependency away from their parents; or, some detailed discussion about pleasing your mate sexually.

The plus side? My kids now have a little bit more respect for the hand-washing thing (lest they get other people’s “fecal matter” on them from the door handle). I don’t think they’ll ever share hats or brushes with people (lice, don’t you know?). And, most importantly, they have discovered that our home is much cleaner than any of us realized.

Public places will always be a source of “ewwww” for me. But I can cope- with plenty of hand sanitizer, hand washing and watching where I sit… I think I can now say the same for my kids, too.

1 comment:

ThePrincessMommy said...

And you were at a hotel in ARKANSAS - EWWWW - I am sure all that bad stuff on Tyra's show came from an AR hotel!! Yech!! LOL