Op/Ed

Clippings: Take this 10-minute challenge

I often tease my husband when he is driving because he touches his face constantly and it drives me crazy. Every 30 seconds the hand leaves the steering wheel and shoots up to his head for some reason or another. We have a running joke (though it’s not really a joke) about the 10-minute challenge. I came up with it years ago, when we lived in the Boston area and made drives to Vermont to see family. I said to him, “I challenge you to go for 10 minutes without touching your face.” It was a struggle.
Now when he’s driving all I have to say to him is “10-minute rule” and he gets the gist. I’d like to think that I’ve mellowed a bit since the early days of the challenge, calling the rule less often because it doesn’t bother me so much anymore. But maybe the reality is that I just do more of the driving — that or the fact that back then (in the mid 1990s) we did not have iPods or iPhones and tuning out wasn’t an option, whereas now I put the ear buds in, close my eyes, and drift off to sleep (when I’m a passenger – not a driver).
So now, with social distancing and all sorts of recommendations for how to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it’s payback time. My husband reminded me just an hour or so ago of the 10-minute challenge. Not because we’re driving. Actually, we are at opposite ends of a long harvest table in our dining room, ensconced in front of our computers and working from home. He brought up the 10-minute rule because despite all the recommendations to not do so, I keep touching my face. 
Payback must be sweet.
Maybe at last I’m generating some sympathy for him, or at least understanding. How do you remember not to scratch the itch, or not to remove the sand that collects in the corner of your eyes after a long night’s sleep? These things are practically automatic reactions. And frankly, with all that’s going on — work pressure, teens home 24/7, checking the Johns Hopkins coronavirus updates every so often, pets needing attention — this 54-year-old, post-menopausal, post-chemo brain just can’t remember the no-face-touching rule. In fact, I can’t remember a lot of things sometimes, including the end of my sentences.
Or what I was going to say next.
It takes me a while, but I do recollect eventually.
As we have been reminded just about every minute since COVID-19 hit our shores, life is different now. The things we automatically do, hugging, shaking hands, kissing cheeks, and yes, touching our faces, are off limits. We have to train all those automatic responses out of our systems on top of everything else. So I’m giving myself and all of you the 10-minute challenge. Maybe it will help us all do better in the no-face-touching department.

Share this story:

More News
Op/Ed

Faith Gong: How to be an undertaker

Our family said goodbye to two remarkable women this past December: My grandmother and my … (read more)

Op/Ed

Editorial: Sheriff reform needed; not so easy to do it

A bill introduced last week to reform the way Vermont sheriffs operate is a step in the ri … (read more)

Op/Ed

Ways of Seeing: Reflecting on Dr. King’s dream

Equality is not equity. Dr. King made this point repeatedly. He argued that while white Am … (read more)

Share this story: