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multi-purpose sleeves

October 16, 2014

About 10 days ago, when I found myself pushing my Trader Joe’s shopping cart with one finger, it occurred to me that I fear germs a bit more than the average person.

If I’m being honest, this thought also occurred to me when, on our flight back from London last month, I utilized the plastic bag my earphones came in to fasten my seatbelt.


We've been eating out a lot lately so I'm not sure where we took this picture but I remember it was last week!

We’ve been eating out a lot lately so I’m not sure where we took this picture. But I think it was a good day since we’re both smiling.


I think the turning point, however, was when I considered using hand sanitizer to clean my mechanical pencil. It was then that I realized I needed to learn to be one with germs.


So I tried to stop using my sleeve to open doors (Success rate = 72%), picked up Maya’s backpack without fear (I’m lying), and even ate at restaurants without first reviewing their restaurant grade (Truth: I spotted one “B” grade at Kati Roll Co. and went to Le Pain Quotidien instead).


Maya opening Eid gifts.

Maya opening Eid gifts.


And so it should come as no surprise that 48 hours into my decision to embrace bacteria, I got food poisoning from what I previously considered one of the best pieces of snapper I’d ever consumed.


The snapper knocked me out for approximately 72 hours straight. I lost about 10 pounds and gained several more gray hairs. 


I recovered, however,  and told myself it was an isolated event.


At the Laduree: Me being sick = me craving sugar.

At the Laduree: Me being sick = me craving sugar.


And 36 hours after that I came down with a fever, cough, and sore throat.


I recovered and told myself it was NOT an isolated event. And then I went back to using my sleeves, my hand sanitizer, and I will obviously never, ever again order seafood on a Monday.


The experiment is over.


51 Comments leave one →
  1. October 17, 2014 5:01 am

    I love that you did a case study before drawing a conclusion. Love science

    • October 18, 2014 2:06 pm

      I never was very good at science…as evidenced by this failed experiment!

  2. October 17, 2014 5:48 am

    Oh no! It’s like the Universe was telling you NOT to change! Hope you’re feeling better!

    • October 18, 2014 2:07 pm

      Yes the Universe was speaking and I am now listening. LOL

  3. Taking On Magazines permalink
    October 17, 2014 5:58 am

    Wow … you do have bad luck that way. I guess it’s from living in a city stuffed with people. You need to move somewhere less crowded instead of using your sleeve for everything. We have plenty of room. 😀

    • October 18, 2014 2:07 pm

      There are SO many germs here. So much dirt and rats and roaches. But I can’t see myself living anywhere else!

  4. October 17, 2014 7:22 am

    Here’s to hoping all the germs steer clear of you from now on!!!

    • October 18, 2014 2:08 pm

      Fingers crossed that I’ve built up immunity after the last two bouts!

  5. Med permalink
    October 17, 2014 8:43 am

    Yes, I think the fish on a Monday rule is important! Hope you are feeling better. Make sure to eat some scones (and maybe burgers) to get those pounds back!

    • October 18, 2014 2:09 pm

      A scone would be great…hard to find good ones here though M. Ones that don’t resemble a piece of cake. 🙂

  6. October 17, 2014 8:54 am

    Are you a bit nervous to fly now w/ all the stuff in the news?
    The dessert looks FABULOUS. x

    • October 18, 2014 2:10 pm

      I’m not nervous to fly but I will be using a plastic bag to fasten my seat belt…and use the TV remote…etc.

      Maybe people won’t think I’m crazy now?

  7. October 17, 2014 2:58 pm

    So crazy. Sometimes the more we stress about something, it’s bound to happen. I always keep a hand sanitizer on me. Love those Hunter boots.

    • October 18, 2014 2:10 pm

      Hunter Boots are the best purchase I’ve made since moving here Nisha. Love. Them.

  8. October 17, 2014 3:05 pm

    I have to pick my battles. I’d go absolutely crazy if I didn’t. Basically, I think about it when I push the grocery store cart and push buttons on the ATM but aside from wearing gloves I’m not sure what more I can do about it. Sorry you got sick! I’m sure this will kick the germophobia into even higher gear.

    • October 18, 2014 2:11 pm

      How could I forget about ATM buttons and credit card machines? Or even credit cards for that matter.

      I need to learn to pick my battles as well…

  9. October 17, 2014 11:49 pm

    I think Abe read an article a few years ago that hand sanitizer wasn’t bad for you. We are addicted.

    • October 18, 2014 2:11 pm

      I’m not sure I give it the same respect as soap and water, but it’s definitely something I welcome in a pinch.

  10. October 18, 2014 1:19 am

    Tell Maya I’m coming over and stealing her boots. Feel better btw! Wash your hands on the regular 🙂

    • October 18, 2014 2:12 pm

      I wash my hands SO MUCH. And yet somehow it’s not enough!!

  11. Seana permalink
    October 18, 2014 7:45 am

    I had food poisoning about 15 years ago from shrimp. Haven’t touched it since. Of course it happened the night before I had to fly out of JFK. Which happens to be 3+ hours from me. Not a fun trip. Glad you’re feeling better. I too, am a germ freak. Can never be too careful. I always worry about touchy my eyes while out. Pink eye is also not fun 🙂

    • October 18, 2014 2:13 pm

      I am also prone to pink eye so I am VERY careful about not touching my eye. Still pink eye usually finds its way regularly…knock on wood.

      Sorry about the food poisoning. Food poisoning + traveling is the worse. 😦

  12. October 19, 2014 7:30 am

    Who loses 10 pounds from one piece of bad snapper? And I am on a flight and I touched my seatbelt. I am grossed out but then don’t follow though with the sanitizing. Hoping my Cleanwell and ginger tea will keep me safe from the “sniffer” next to me.

    • October 20, 2014 4:24 pm

      Fingers crossed that you are safe Lauren. Still waiting for our lunch date…

  13. October 19, 2014 10:43 am

    hope you are feeling better…esp with everything going on, i feel like there are germs everywhere.

    • October 20, 2014 4:24 pm

      Yes, especially in NYC. I think there are really germs EVERYWHERE.

  14. October 20, 2014 4:06 pm

    Don’t worry—I am such a germaphobe! When I ride the Metro and have to hold onto the hand rail or pole, I immediately look for a bathroom to wash my hands when I get off, haha!

    • October 20, 2014 4:24 pm

      I don’t hold the rail…I lean against it. Somehow I feel like that’s safer, even if I’m just fooling myself. 🙂

  15. October 20, 2014 4:13 pm

    You’d better not come to Bangladesh – I don’t think you’d survive a moment! I’ve never seen this OCD side to you before Ameena! I’m afraid I’m very much the opposite in approach and firmly believe that ‘whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’!

    • October 20, 2014 4:25 pm

      I’ve been to India, and although it’s been a while, I assume it’s pretty similar to Bangladesh. At least in terms of dirt and germs?

      I wish I believed in that stronger part….

      • October 21, 2014 3:36 am

        How did you manage?! I think Bangladesh is a little worse actually…

      • October 21, 2014 6:41 am

        It was challenging but I think I was less particular back then…. 🙂

  16. October 23, 2014 9:11 am

    Haha. I don’t fear germs on that level, but I also don’t eat sea food so I guess I am safe (kinda, maybe?)

    Any how I love Maya’s new boots, and to be honest, I hope Santa brings me similar ones for Christmas/thanksgiving or hey even Halloween 😉

    • October 25, 2014 4:20 am

      Hunter boots are the BEST purchase I’ve ever made (esp since moving east). I hope you get some for the holiday season!

  17. October 25, 2014 7:55 am

    This post made me laugh – I see a lot of myself in there. It’s a familial trait for me and I’m definitely passing this post on to my cousins! So sorry about the food poisoning. 😦

    • October 26, 2014 7:22 am

      I often wonder if my germaphobia is genetic…but my parents seem at ease with touching doorknobs. LOL

  18. Shauna permalink
    October 25, 2014 10:43 pm

    Ameena! You are still cracking me up!!!!!!! I’m dying over here again. Just love you-

    Shauna xoxo

  19. October 29, 2014 11:40 pm

    I have a friend who was such a germophobe that she would bring her own utensils to restaurants. Living in Korea for a few years had stripped her of all of her anti-bacterial ways so maybe you just need to spend several months in east Asia! 😉

  20. October 30, 2014 11:52 am

    You tried, and that’s what counts. I think you deserve a medal just for trying, and because food poisoning is awful.

    Also, my Europe trip is more planned out now, so if you happen to be going to London or Paris in the first couple weeks of June, let me know. We can get scones!

    • October 31, 2014 1:31 pm

      I might be in London next summer but it won’t be until late June, at the earliest. Maya’s school always gets in the way of everything. 🙂

  21. November 2, 2014 8:52 pm

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  23. November 11, 2014 8:28 am

    You remind me of an incident that happened to me few years ago. I encouraged a female associate to use the lift with me on this one occasion. She had a phobia of lifts and getting stuck. I totally calmed her down and explained lifts never get stuck – just in movies. Anyway, she trusted me, entered the lift and selected the desired floor. Guess what – halfway up the lift jerks a few times and with a thud stops. We’re stuck in a lift and I couldn’t believe it. We just talk over the phone now.

    What were the chances of that eh?

    • November 12, 2014 6:10 pm

      My mom was stuck in an elevator once and often refuses to get on them, even now, years later! At least I don’t have that problem…yet. 🙂

      • November 13, 2014 9:37 am

        Just don’t get on to one, I’m telling you you’ll get stuck, besides taking the stairs is the healthy option.

  24. Med permalink
    November 12, 2014 5:21 pm

    Lol, can I please see a copy of the “don’t be rude on FaceTime” essay?

  25. Jessie E. permalink
    November 20, 2014 8:06 am

    Aww, sorry to hear about the food poisoning, Ameena – that’s the worst 😦 I’m with you on avoiding germs, although I’ve never been brave enough to experiment with embracing the germ. I still use sleeves to open doors and keep a lot of hand sanitizer around, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon! 😉

    • November 20, 2014 1:53 pm

      Glad to hear that I’m not the only one who utilizes her sleeves… 🙂

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