It took a global pandemic for most of us to realize how some things we were used to doing were totally unhygienic. Right now, everyone will glare at you if you so much as sneeze in public with a mask on or stand too close to a stranger in line. Twitter user Brittany (@britshanice) raised this realization when she remembered the “filthiest part of life pre-COVID” in her tweet. As of writing, her post has amassed 359k likes and 41.8k comments mostly filled with people sharing pre-COVID rituals that are unthinkable now. Here are a few of the most relatable ones:
Blowing birthday candles on cakes… and serving them to others
Brittany started the ball rolling with her “filthiest part of live pre-COVID” experience — blowing on a cake. Sometimes it’s not only the celebrant who blows on it, it’s everyone around them too. We are now aware of the invisible droplets we release when we talk, how much more when we blow on food? Not to be graphic but imagine the birthday celebrant’s saliva droplets all over your fat slice of cake. Uh-huh, never gonna do it again, right?
Drinking from public water fountains
Aside from those public water fountains being exposed, some people also put their mouths directly on the spout to drink better. And if that doesn’t throw you off now, dozens of strangers touched the faucet too (with unwashed hands, probably).
Licking fingers to count money or turn pages
People shouldn’t be doing this in the first place. Money has been dirty since time immemorial and it shouldn’t take us a pandemic to realize how you’re literally licking germs off your fingers. Do you remember that one health official early in the pandemic who warned everyone to avoid touching their faces but proceeded to lick her fingers to flip a page? Acquired behavior is difficult to unlearn but we try.
Having boodle fights
Pre-COVID, boodle fights are the best especially by the beach in summer. But now that even the thought of taking off our mask inside a Grab car makes us shiver, how much more will the thought of eating meals by hand with a crowd? Boodle fights will have to be postponed unless all the participants are RT-PCR tested. And even then, social distancing, please.
Taking a drag from friends’ cigarettes and vapes
No more randomly taking someone else’s cigarettes or trying out your friend’s new vape flavors. This is one way to let the freeloaders know they should either quit or buy their own supply.
Shaking the hand of someone you just met
The reason being you don’t know where those hands have been. Totally overthinking here but what if they went to the restroom and did not wash their hands? Or if they sneezed and coughed into it and didn’t put rubbing alcohol afterward. Filipino lawmakers even proposed “a no-contact gesture of goodwill” which will require us to place our hands on our chest and bow slightly instead of shaking hands. But the elbow touch is also a good substitute.
Blowing into someone’s eye
In the past, people who are “na-puwing” would immediately turn to their nearest friend to have them blow on their eye in an attempt to clear it of debris. But knowing that the virus is transmitted by droplets that enter our system through our eyes, nose, and mouth, that kind gesture is now unimaginable. I will sit here and let my eye tear up, thank you very much.
Going to work sick
Do you remember that time someone from your office got sick, still reported for work, and their flu made rounds the next few weeks? That’s just nasty. Now you believe breathing the same air as someone ill will also get you sick. HR should make sure even those with the slightest degree of fever will stay at home and take their sick leaves — no matter how workaholic they are.
There’s nothing wrong with being aware of the things we did before that now need to change. Being hyper-aware of how we might be spreading germs or how we might contract germs is part of the new normal now. So those bemoaning how the human race has now “become germophobes,” we’re literally doing it to survive. Let’s hope there will come a day where we look back at this list as a bad memory.
What other pre-COVID practices do you believe to be unthinkable now?