Sunday, December 2, 2012

Ewwww Factor

Some days should come with a warning label.

The day might start out innocently enough: Cereal with orange juice and a cup of coffee; cuddles from doggies;  a sunshiney morning with temperatures registering in the 60s in December. Later, it might unfold to reveal a more unsavory side. It might be good to know this in advance.

After a shower, hair styling, and dressing in jeans and a lightweight silk sweater to run some errands, it was time to take the dogs outside to play for a few minutes in the beautiful day. We ran around the yard and practiced “sit” and “stay.” The elderly trees in my yard frequently fling their limbs, and in some cases, their entire beings to the ground during wind and storms, and I began picking up sticks. The dogs wandered around the yard. 

The few small sticks in the front yard were gathered, then larger sticks and branches from the drainage ditch parallel to the road, and soon, I was trotting through the woods behind the house and hauling out limbs taller than I am. My address is already on the list for Street Department yard debris pickup, so it made sense to make it worth their trip and tidy up as much as I could.

After five or six trips up the incline of the driveway, dragging tree parts behind me (sans work gloves), I noticed Winston was in the front yard huddled over something, which turned out to be a dried, boney, piece of furry animal remains. I got him away from it and got him into the house. To prevent him from eating it the next time he went out, I had to pick it up and bag it for the trash. With no gloves nearby, the ewww meter was on high, but I took care of it much the way I use a plastic bag to pick up the daily poo and without dancing around like a nut or screaming from touching a part of a dead animal through a plastic bag.

After washing my hands three or four times with antibacterial soap (until the skin was ready to peel off) I brushed the tree branch dirt off my jeans and sweater and made ready to leave the house. Even though I didn’t need anything, it was half-off day at Goodwill, and I have previously found vintage wardrobe treasures when I’m in there sightseeing. I ended up with an armload of stuff to try on -- skirts for work, a few sweaters and jackets, and a black raw silk coat that may not be vintage but matches perfectly the first item in my vintage dress collection -- my grandmother’s black raw silk dress, bought for her brother’s funeral in the early 1960s and given to me in the mid-1980s.

I headed into the giant dressing room that can accommodate a shopping cart and contains a clothing rod that was stuffed full of other customer’s rejected items. Great items have been found on the reject rack. As I was trying on my selections, I noticed a brown sweater and a black sweater on the floor. My previous retail experience, coupled my occasional OCD mean I often rehang things in stores, pick stuff up from the floor, straighten displays, so out of habit, I decided to pick up what someone else had tossed onto the floor. I reached out with my left hand and grasped the fabric to set it onto the rack, and two fingers touched wet fabric. As I held it up I saw a straight line of wetness on the sweater. And then the fragrance hit me. Not odorless water. Not sweet soda. Stinky pee.

And that was the day’s second ewwww factor, even grosser than the first. At least with the dead animal part, it was dried up and my hand was protected by the plastic shopping bag used to grab it. This time it was bare skin on someone else’s nasty ewwwww. Some people are just so damned disgusting they'll pee in a dressing room instead of getting the key to the restroom. Maybe it was a little kid. In any case, there are not enough excuses or skin disinfectant on the planet to remove the heebie jeebies from that one.

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