Monday, 21 June 2010

Beware of the car

Don't you love those absurd scare stories designed to make us terrified of some aspect of daily life we were never worried about before?

There's another splendid example here. Cars, we are told, are seething with dangerous germs that could cause food poisoning, vomiting and skin infections.

Swabs taken from a well-used family car were found to be crawling with nasties like staphylococcus and bacillus cereus, lurking on the steering wheel, gearstick, door handles and floor mats.

A microbiologist was wheeled out to point to the "horrifying" fact that eating off a dashboard could be as toxic as eating off a toilet seat. Your car, he said, "should maintain the same level of hygiene as your dining room."

Well, I don't know about you, but I don't recall ever falling sick after using the car, even when I was driving it every day. If I did vomit after leaving it, it was probably the result of drinkus alcoholicus and not bacillus cereus.

Did they quote any actual statistical connection between car use and illness? Of course not, it was all just a theoretical, you-never-know bit of nonsense. They may be commonplace bugs, guys, but don't under-estimate them! They could cause havoc! They could turn your life upside down!

I was waiting for the article to plug some expensive, state-of-the-art hygiene product that would cleanse and purify my beloved vehicle, but strangely that never appeared.

Yes, my car may well be germ-laden, but like other human beings I have that wonderful thing, an immune system. I think I'll survive.

31 comments:

Baino said...

My toilet seat is spotless thank you and who eats off their dashboard? I still think the filthiest things we handle are our keyboards and money! Oh and shopping trolleys! Mind you I hate to think what might be growing under the seat of my car!

meno said...

None of us will have an immune system left if the media keeps using scare tactics like this to get us to buy antibacterial crap that we don't need and is unltimately harmful to us.

I laugh at this kind of thing and then go lick my steering wheel.

Grannymar said...

ATM buttons, a bunch of keys, mobile phones and keyboards are high on the list in my thinking. Anyway if all the bugs are killed off, how do we build our immunity?

Nick said...

Baino - It can't be spotless all the time, unless it's cleaned after each use....

Indeed, money must be filthy, but who worries about that? And do we catch flu every time we handle a coin? I rest my case.

Meno - Exactly, our immune systems are compromised enough already with antibiotics and 101 weird chemicals. We don't need any more of them.

Licking your steering wheel? That's a fetish that's new to me....

Nick said...

Grannymar - Precisely. And if we tried to kill every nasty bug in every possible nook and cranny, we'd never have time for anything else.

kylie said...

you thought you knew all the fetishes, didnt you?


seriously nick, this is the kind of crap that gets me on my soap box quicker than you could say jack robinson. i dont know why they do it but i wish they wouldnt

insane

like my rant?

Wisewebwoman said...

I drive around in a Hazmat suit - doesn't everyone?
XO
WWW

Scarlet Blue said...

Oh crikey. Better stop sucking the gear stick then.
Sx

Nick said...

Kylie - Oh yes, I'm a fetish connoisseur, you name it, I've done it. No sorry, your rant isn't ranty enough. A bigger outburst of spleen required.

www - I certainly do. You mean there are some people who don't bother? Are they crazy?

Scarlet - Hey, I do that too. Do you find it has a curious tangerine flavour?

kylie said...

i'm more interested in your fetishes than doing a bigger rant

Nick said...

Kylie - My fetishes are too numerous to name. Or too embarrassing. There are so many things that have such tantalising tactile and evocative overtones. Satin evening gloves. Finely spun glass. Metronomes. How about yours?

Meno, this change of direction is entirely your doing, you wicked woman.

Rummuser said...

How else would compulsive obsessives live? They need stories like these to enable them to keep washing their hands!

Nick said...

Ramana - True, it only encourages those who're already obsessed with personal hygiene. Not to mention hypochondriacs. But car valeting services might get some extra business....

kylie said...

somebody i know believes i have a fetish for black men

Nick said...

Kylie - But of course it's not true. You only have a fetish for black shoelaces.

kylie said...

it's not true because i cant be limited to one colour

Nick said...

Kylie - But suppose you had a fetish for strawberries? In particular, eating strawberries off your dashboard. Or off your steering wheel.

Macy said...

But of course eating off the dashboard is the same as eating off a toilet seat!!!
Good grief look at the amount of anti bacterial CLEANING PRODUCTS we buy and use in the full promise they wil keep our homes germ free.
I'll just wipe down the car next time I'm cleaning the bog will I?

kylie said...

are you trying to drag me back on track?

Nick said...

Macy - Absolutely. I expect your car to get a thorough anti-bacterial blasting. Especially in all those forgotten corners like seat-belt mountings. No skimping!

Kylie - Possibly. I hope your car gets a good blasting as well. It could be a matter of life or death. If you just miss a single staphylococcus....

Los Angelista said...

I clean the insides of my car once a week but only because I want it to look good, not because I'm worried about germs. And I don't know anybody who eats off a dashboard... and if they do, I bet they have other more important things to worry about.

Nick said...

Liz - Indeed, right now there are much more important things to worry about than the odd toxic organism. Like losing your job and not being to afford a car at all.

Leah said...

That is the awfullest article. It could drive me mad!

I agree--our collective germ-obsession borders on fetishistic. Like we get a thrill from thinking about the germs and microbes, and tempting fate.

Great comments, you know I love a good fetish.

Nick said...

Leah - But you're not obsessed with germs, are you? Or is this an anxiety you've been keeping secret?

Oh yes, you and your fetishes. You might even have more than me.

Nick said...

Blogger has developed a highly irritating tic. Every time I go into my comment box, the wordcheck has no letters in it and I have to reopen the box. I hope this isn't happening to anyone else.

Leah said...

I admit...I am quite obsessed with germs...and not in a fun way~

: /

Yes, blogger has been doing that to me too!

Nick said...

Leah - I'm sorry to hear that. Have you tried any kind of therapy or do you just try to keep it under control?

secret agent woman said...

I just refuse to become a germ phobe. You simply can't maintain sterility around you at all times.

Nick said...

Secret Agent - It would be totally impossible. There are germs on everything we touch. If we wanted to avoid them, we'd have to stay permanently in a sterile tent!

Liz said...

There's currently an advert on television suggesting that taps are as germ-laden as toilet seats and that we all need to buy the new touchfree tap. You can tell I didn't pay a lot of attention to the advert as I can't remember the specifics! I don't think it was taps; it might have been soap dispensers. That's more likely.

It's a wonder any of us have survived to middle-age with so many hazards in our daily life.

Nick said...

Liz - I think it WAS touchfree taps. And I'm sure taps are germ-laden, like just about everything, but we all have inbuilt defences! And the reason we're all living so long is precisely because we've been exposed to so many germs and defeated them!