Opinion: Can’t stand the germs

I'VE JUST returned home from a lengthy road trip looking for a new place to live.

Yes, after a tiresome 15 months on the market, my house has finally sold and I'm heading for greener pastures.

Where I am currently living is relatively isolated - even more so this past weekend as I was cut off by floodwaters after the huge storms that swept the eastern seaboard. I ended up having to stay in a hotel for the night after flooding and landslides cut off the only road home.

I've discovered dealing with crowds is something I'm no longer all that good at; it's been 15 years since I last lived in a city - and I have no desire to ever do that again - but there's no doubt I am in danger of becoming a little, ahem, paranoid about people and their germs.

For the first few days of the trip I stayed with old friends who have recently mounted a concentrated campaign for me to move nearby; unfortunately I didn't much care for the area in which they live. And there's no easy way to say that without causing great offence.

Actually there's no way at all, easy or otherwise. I'm hoping my reluctance to be neighbours had nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that they were both suffering from streaming colds; the full wet cough, sneezing, disgustingly snotty nose catastrophe.

As we were busy looking at potential properties (they thought) on my iPad, it was all I could do to not run screaming from the room to find somewhere to wash my hands obsessively after one or the other of them insisted on grabbing the device from my hands after politely covering their mouths during the aforementioned wet coughing fits.

Now, I've never been a clean freak (one glance at my house would confirm that statement in a heartbeat). I've known people who were compulsive hand washers and always thought what a pain in the behind that would be.

But so strong was my desire to not catch this virus, I surreptitiously searched under their kitchen sink and found a spray bottle of shower cleaner which I used every five minutes to clean the iPad and my hands.

So far, so good; I think I'm past the incubation period for whatever it was they had. But flying home yesterday there was an entire plane load of people - or so it seemed - of all ages that apparently had succumbed.

The small boy who sat directly behind me managed to cough so hard he actually threw up right down the back of the seat.

It could have been worse but I'm not quite sure how.

Excuse me for a moment; I'm just going to find some shower cleaner.

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