Friday, July 3, 2020

My World Part X

No more touching.

Today I went to the art glass studio where I learned how to build stained glass panels, looking to match some glass for the school project I'm doing. I was thrilled they were open--they've been closed due to exposure to the coronavirus for two weeks. I walked in and the same guy I always talk to was right there at the front desk. And I realized I was roped off in a single rectangle of space. There would be no touching of glass today.

He matched it and found everything I needed and I left with all my stuff and felt incomplete. I understood. The fewer hands that touch the glass the fewer of those Clorox wipes displayed there on the work counter they will have to use. But look at this place. It is aching to be touched and examined and enjoyed.

But no more.

It is amazing to me how much I just touch things, especially when shopping. I don't now; I watch (mostly white older men) touch with wild abandon, every package of jelly beans while I wait my turn the week before easter, touch all the apples in a bin while I decide to go ahead and get pears instead, touch every handle in the frozen food aisle, even ones they don't choose to open. Why? I think because they (and I) are used to just touching things.

I think about my classroom and everything I kept on my desk and how my middle school students would come up and fiddle with things while they asked me for help or permission to do something. People don't touch with their eyes. They like to fiddle.

Once when I was at Catholic Supply, a store that sells, well, Catholic supplies, with Maeve, she was about 3, and I was looking for something and not watching her. I had told her that in this store, which had everything from statuary to jewelry to vestments, that she could touch things but only with one finger, she could touch with one finger. I was speaking with a clerk about some specifics and Maeve ran up to me with a very breakable blown glass Christmas ornament, asking, "Is this something I can touch with one finger?"

Now not even one. Don't touch what's not yours and clean up after yourself and why was it ok to just touch everything anyway?


  1. It's been incredible to realize how many things we touch without even thinking about it. I miss touching people most.

  2. It's funny you should write this, because I was out this week with my sister and niece (who is vulnerable to COVID, having cystic fibrosis), and we were walking through a department store touching the lovely soft blankets and throws in the bedding department, and then later all three of us were touching the jerseys etc in a clothes store, and commented on the fact that maybe we shouldn't do that! The difference here is that we think of the principle, and we think of the potential risk if it should return here, but not an immediate risk.

    I'm laughing too at adorable Maeve holding the extremely breakable thing asking if she could touch it with one finger!

  3. I found myself touching various Japanese sauce containers yesterday while shopping for a Japanese inspired meal. I was mostly trying to figure out what they were -- if they were what I needed for various recipes I was making, but knew I really should not be doing that.