As Fran walked by Josh’s cubicle on the way to her own, she saw him hunched over his desk, turned away from his computer, and moving both of his arms vigorously in front of him. His back was to her so she couldn’t tell what was going on but she knew it was something weird, so she decided she needed to find out.
“Josh, what are you doing?”
He jumped and swiveled around in his chair. His hands and his phone were covered with some kind of clear gel.
“God, you scared me. Don’t sneak up on me like that. And I’m disinfecting my phone, was does it look like I’m doing?”
She looked past him and saw a pump bottle of Purell sitting on his desk. She recognized it as the one she had brought in just last week and had placed in a central location for everyone to use. Josh had just about emptied it.
“May I ask why you’re disinfecting your phone?”
“Why do you think, Fran? I dropped it in the toilet and it got poop water on it! I need to kill the toilet germs…hello?” He shook his head dismissively at her and continued massaging the Purell onto every surface of his phone.
“Do you think that’s gonna work, Josh? First of all, if you dropped your phone in the water it might already be dead. Did you try it? Do you know if it even works?”
“Yeah, I tried it, Fran–I touched every single poopy button! Geez! No, I didn’t try it–I have to clean it first!”
“OK, OK. Well, second of all, I think maybe you don’t understand how Purell works. It’s not some magic force field potion that kills all germs on every surface. It’s made to rub on your hands to make THEM clean. It’s not for phones and–”
“Fran, are you LOOKING at me? I have the stuff ALL OVER my hands! And now I’m transferring it to the phone, so my hands are cleaning the phone. I have thought this through, you know.” He shook his head at her again and continued rubbing the phone. At some point he had pulled a box of Q-Tips out of his desk drawer and was now using those to smear Purell into the cracks between the phone’s buttons.
“OK…well…if you need to disinfect your phone, why aren’t you using those Lysol wipes we have in the supply cabinet? They disinfect, and they’d be gentler and less messy than the Purell.”
Josh stopped and threw his hands in the air, sending globs of Purell flying.
“NOW you tell me! GEEZ, Fran, just…GEEEEZ!”
He stormed off to the supply cabinet, and Fran returned to her desk, trying to figure out what kind of world she was living in where Josh was the department manager and she was his administrative assistant. She made herself a note to buy more Purell, took a few deep breaths, and went back to work.