Latex gloves are only as clean as the last thing they touched. We all know that, right? Isn't the point of wearing them so that you don't contaminate food with filthy dirty fingers that touched something nasty? Why do so many people not get that? Sometimes I think people put them on their hands and assume that they have some magical power that keeps them clean all day. Not. True.
I went to eat at a falafel place last week which I do every week because I am a creature of habit and the falafel is good. Not as good as it is cheap, but cheap trumps good for me when I only have a twenty minute break to inhale some food before the rest of the shift starts. I watched the guy in front of me order his falafel and noticed that they kid making it had on latex gloves. "Oh, good," I thought. "Hygienic." As he progressed down the line he used his gloved hand to toss in lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers. After the falafel was done he walked over to the cash register and rang it up, still using the gloves. The man paid for his lunch and handed the cashier/falafel maker a twenty dollar bill into his latex hand. Change was then made and handed back to the customer all the while using the same glove. Then it was my turn. "Can I please get a falafel on a whole wheat pita with red pepper hummus?" He walked over to the bread warmer to retrieve my pita and I waited to see when he was going to change gloves since those had just handled that dirty nasty ass germy thing called currency. But nope. He picked up my pita with the same gloves on. I imagined what was happening: a piece of bacteria that was on that glove jumped onto my bread. That bacteria came from a nickle, that came from the man, who found it on the street after a homeless lady dropped it out of her paper cup. As that nickel sat on Sixth Avenue, a Yorkshire terrier walked by and peed on it right after a bike messenger ran over it with his tire; the same tire that had just gone thorough a puddle of oily water in front of the Best Buy. I would be practically eating that nickel now. Homeless lady, dog peed, oily water nickel. I looked at the falafel maker ready to explain how useless latex gloves are if they aren't changed. And then I looked down at the yummy looking hummus piled high into my fresh whole wheat pita. The crispy lettuce, tangy hot sauce and creamy tahini sauce was making goo goo eyes at me and I forgot all about the germs. Transfixed, I handed him my five dollars and thirty-three cents. Mouth watering, I unwrapped the falafel and went in for the first bite. Delicious.
Germs? Maybe. But I survived. Next time I will tell him he needs to change his gloves. That is unless I am caught in the falafel spell again where I throw cleanliness and hygiene out the window.
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