Open Letter from an Introverted Germaphobe

Dear Everyone,

I’m finally vindicated! You used to look at me all judgy when I’d wipe down my seat, slather myself in antibacterial ointment and apply a plastic cover to the tray table located in the seat back in front of me on an airplane. You’d give me side-eye when I’d wear a rubber glove or use a crumpled Kleenex to hold the subway pole or “strap hang,” as they like call it, and you’d look at me quizzically when I’d wrap my face in a scarf, like the elephant man for a quick jaunt downtown on the 1 train.

You’d chafe when I’d examine my wine glass, invariably sending it back after discovering a lipstick mark or when I’d disgustedly ask for a new fork after finding bits of dried food left between its tines during my requisite pre-dinner utensil inspection. You made me feel crazy when I’d rip off my clothes and Silkwood shower after returning home from riding any form of public transportation, going to the doctor or coming within eyeshot of small children. You’d laugh at me when I’d spray my hands with sanitizer after opening a door, handling a supermarket cart or rummaging for spare change and you’d get sick pleasure from watching me squirm when forced by awkwardness to shake hands with a business colleague, realtor or any brazen son of a bitch who considered that sort of thing acceptable.

You thought I was overreacting when I’d visibly scowl and audibly shriek whenever someone would cough within a ten-foot radius of me. Or when I’d passive-aggressively ask the colorist, our food server or my kid’s teacher if she suffered from allergies to determine her level of contagion if I happened to detect the slightest indication of a sniffle. 

And now, I’m looking like a mother fucking visionary.

I’ve been doing my meetings via skype, Zoom, Google Hangout, FaceTime or carrier pigeon—anything to avoid actual face-to-face encounters, for YEARS! None of that in-person nonsense. That’s why I left corporate America in the first place—so I could do things on my terms, in my own sanitized space surrounded by a personally curated, highly selective group of germs, I mean colleagues.

And, let’s be honest—live performance is highly overrated. I’ve long preferred watching movies, plays and concerts from the comfort of my home. In person, the headliner is always offensively late, the concessions wildly overpriced and stacked parking makes me hyperventilate. Plus, mass shootings. I practically pioneered the concept of direct-to-consumer and in the last week alone, I’ve visited the Louvre, traversed The Great Wall of China, gone on Safari and participated in a virtual sound bath—all braless!

It’s actually quite liberating to finally be able to wear a mask without looking like Michael Jackson or a Japanese tourist. I would’ve happily worn a hazmat suit when flying, but back then, pre-pandemic—it would’ve resulted in me being tackled to the ground and interrogated by Homeland Security. Now, I’m just being prudent.

I’ve been telling my daughter not to touch her face since she was in utero and she learned to count (to 20!) by washing her hands. She’s also been trained to run from the sound of a cough or sneeze. We’re way ahead of our time.

In addition to all of those wonderful nuggets, I am now entirely justified— make that encouraged, to rarely, if ever leave the house. I’m no longer oppressed by the pressures of social engagements. No obligatory work functions, holiday parties or exhausting group dinners. It’s not that I don’t want to see you, I’m just trying to save lives.    

Don’t get me wrong, I want this pandemic to end as soon as scientifically possible. But ’til then, I’m simply asking you to admit it: I WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG!


IG ❏

Lisa Feldsher is a writer and co-founding partner at Mind Over Media PR.  Her work has been featured on HuffPost, Kveller and Medium, among other outlets. 

Photo by Evgeni Tcherkasski


3 Responses

  1. A soul sister! If you really are, or resemble, someone like this, that is. And you tell it so funny, you should excuse the grammar.

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