#28 Slice of Life

by Robin Stuart

Using a napkin as a makeshift glove, I distributed plates from a stack on the counter. Bill brought an elevated stand to the table along with the pizza. He knew I objected to the platter touching the table, so close to particles of meals past along with germs spread by the bus person’s swabs with wet cloths.

Bill sat down, oblivious to danger. How many people had been there before him? Where had their pants been? Oh God, what about previous patrons who’d worn shorts? Their skin left behind thousands of dead, diseased skin cells? I grabbed another handful of napkins and placed a second layer onto my chair.


Bill froze, a slice of pepperoni held mid-air. “What?”

“Don’t touch that with your bare hands!” I handed him a napkin.

He ignored me. I placed the napkin on his plate. He stopped again, staring at our daughter. She withdrew a small bottle of hand sanitizer from her purse.

“You didn’t wash your hands?” Bill asked.

“Duh,” Rachel answered. “I had to turn the door knob to get out of the bathroom. Gross.”

I beamed with pride as she placed napkins on her own plate. With a napkin protecting her hand she placed a slice of pizza onto her plate. She covered the slice with another napkin. It soaked up grease gathered in the bowls of pepperoni. She reached for a fresh napkin.

“It’s empty. Mom?”

I looked over to the next table. The couple had barely touched their dispenser.


Thom Gabrukiewicz said...

A very fresh look at OCD - but family-style.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to read about this family at a pho restaurant.

Sam Knight said...

Nice moment captured in time showing how some people view the world and what they do to deal with it.

Annie said...

Funny. I'm not sure how I feel about a mother's pride in passing down her OCD - but I loved it anyway.

JRVogt said...

Great insight on the OCD thought process in a colorful setting.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Reminds me of some people I work with.

Anonymous said...

HEY! There is nothing wrong with hand sanitizer! And do you KNOW how many food-making people expectorate (slightly) on the food they're making? Don't even get me started on swimming pools.

Um. This piece may have hit closer to home than I first thought.