Shut yo mouth!

Or possibly better titled, Get your fingers out of your mouth and stop touching my damn food! Or, possibly, Raina actually is a freak when it comes to germs, and may be judging you while you eat!

It’s no secret to those that know me that I have an aversion to germs, especially that coming from people’s mouths (blah)! I have considered lysol-ing the incessant cougher on the bus who was clearly too ill to be in public. Let me take you back a few months to what was probably a prime example of how I can’t do germs, or floor crunchies. I’ll follow that up with a delightful tale of a full bore bat shit break down. If you’re squeamish, you may just want to skip this one.

During a recent training at work, we were asked to learn and apply mindfulness as a method for reducing stress in our Veteran population. We spent a lot of time doing deep breathing and other similar activities (I know, I know-hard job, right?). Part of this process was something called Mindful Eating, where you eat a raisin, and focus on mindfully looking at it, smelling it, and ultimately eating it. I get it…slowing down and savoring your food? We could all use some of that..

So began the experiment. Step one: Pass around a container of raisins, and everyone grab one.

With their fingers. Out of the same container of unwrapped, sticky, raisins.

D’oh.

Now…I am about half way through this line of people waiting patiently for their germ riddled treat. “I can totally do this, these are my coworkers…it’s ok”, I think, as I grab my (still germ riddled,  but I am damn ok with it) raisin.

And the exercise begins.  We hold it up and look at it (I’m ok at this point), we turn it over in our fingers (got it, I’m still cool), and even smell it. We’re being deliberate with our food, and I am totally behind this. Then the leader says “Now, place the raisin in your mouth.”.

Insert screeching tires of a big-ass Mack truck coming to a halt.

Huh? There’s god knows what on this sticky thing. Eek! Up until this point, my eyes and the eyes of all of my coworkers have been closed, but upon hearing the news that I had to throw what is now (I’m pretty sure) a mechanism of germ warfare into my mouth, I was up, alert, and my mindfulness spell was broken.

Not wanting to appear ass-ish, I continued to look at it. Mindfulness is Mindfulness, right? Now, I am pretty into my raisin, and am looking at it when I hear a soft whisper next to me: “Crap”.  Apparently my coworker dropped his raisin. This is seriously not conducive to mindfulness, so I help. We eventually find it under the desk and he goes back to his mindfulness activity, and pops the raisin in his mouth.

Whole. Lee. Shit.

He shrugs and chomps along merrily, while I stare in both shock and impressed awe. “You ate floor crunchies!!”, I whisper. No matter, he is clearly more Zen than I.  I eventually rub the raisin on my pants, take a nibble, and throw the rest in my tissue, hoping to high hell no one I work with is ill.  Needless to say, this activity-not my favorite.

So, by now  you have a good sense of how my brain works based on the past blogs (you may want to read the one about home improvement, if you have other questions. You can find that here). And yes, I do realize that this is plain silly and that one raisin probably won’t kill me (at least we better hope!!)  Flash forward to this past Sunday. Let me set the scene.

A Moroccan restaurant in Belltown, a 50th birthday party for someone I don’t know and 20+ of her friends, mostly softer science social workers (think crystal healing, Reiki, Qigong therapies), clinical social workers, dog park friends-a good smattering of the people I spend time with in real life. Just…well, strangers.

Let me also take time to note a few things:

  • I drove in downtown after not eating for way too many hours
  • I wasn’t planning on drinking
  • You eat with your hands at this place. With Strangers. And their hands.
Course 1: came with bread, so you could use that as kind of a spoon of sorts. I was all over that AND i got to pick my bread first out of the basket-“take that!”, I thought. The people across from me used their bread nicely and stayed away from my side of the plate. YAY!  Round one: Win!
Course 2: ground chicken and egg in flaky pastry mixed with cinnamon and yumminess, topped with powdered sugar. Messy, but delicious and sticky. Crap. It was the raisin all over again!!!  Nick looked at me to make sure I was ok….the people across from me were still staying on their side of the treat, so I was cool. Then, the ineviatble happened…they ate off of my side! Not only was I hungry and had someone invading my food territory, but they also touched the other part of my side! EEP! So there I was…less food than I had liked, no wine, and people eating my crunchies. Dammit. Round 2: Draw??? Meh. 
Somewhere between Course 2 and 3, I had the opportunity to move over to my own table, and for all that is holy, this was a good thing, as I was about to lose my bunny fluff.
The waiters brought up dish after dish, starting at the first table and I was at the last…what I didn’t realize was that all the food is just brought out and placed on the tables, encouraging you to move about and pick and choose from each plate.  So, I am waiting to see what all will be brought out when I start people watching.
Again. Whole. Lee. Shit.
Finger suckers.
I watched a gal grab food, eat it, lick her fingers and then grab more food. At this point, I am no longer hungry and am ready to get the hell out. People at this point are noticing my discomfort and offer to bring me food, since I am in the corner in a booth. “Oh, no…I am good”. I look to Nick with the “holy hell, did you see that lady?!?!” look, and he giggles, as he knows what I am about to say, and is already looking for an escape route. 
More food is offered, to which I politely decline, after leaning over to Nick in my best whisper scream “Get me out of here! I’m hungry, and there’s people touching the food!!! I can’t do this!!!”.  The waiter, seeing me obviously distraught asks what I need, and eventually brings me sweet mint tea to help my tummy, which at this point is all sorts of pissed at me. But now, as I am checking out, and drinking warm tea, people are concerned. 
Aw, crap. Can’t a girl just eat some non-contaminated food in peace?!
Ah ha! Salvation! A kebab is brought out and I swoop down on it like a bald eagle after a hungry salmon, feeling a little like Gollum, but happily nibble on my people free food in my corner away from everyone’s sticky fingers, sighing. I still want to get the hell out of there and go eat some food, but for now, I no longer feel like I am going to lose it. Round 3: Win.
Bottom line-Marrakesh is awesome, but bring people you know, and possibly not me, unless you’re willing to use a fork.
Hope you got a giggle out of this!  Here’s to you in germ-less happiness!
Raina
“I’ve long believed that good food, good eating, is all about risk. Whether we’re talking about unpasteurized Stilton, raw oysters or working for organized crime ‘associates,’ food, for me, has always been an adventure” ― Anthony Bourdain

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