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All the times I touched my face today

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Honestly, I’m probably touching it right now

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Like most health reporters, I know what I’m supposed to be doing during this coronavirus outbreak: washing my hands, not touching my face, cleaning high-use surfaces like my phone. But what I’m supposed to be doing and what I’m actually doing... well. Listen, I’m trying.

Washing my hands: easy, love it, let’s do it more. Cleaning: don’t love it, but doable. Not touching my face, though, is the real challenge.

Here’s the thing about your face: it’s got a bunch of points of entry on it. Specifically, your eyes, nose, and mouth. That’s how the virus gets in, man. You touch something that’s contaminated, and then you touch your face, and congratulations! You’re a patient now.

In order to try to hold myself accountable, I’ve attempted to document all the times I’ve touched my face today. Let’s see how this goes.

6:15AM: As my boyfriend’s alarm goes off, I blearily rub my eyes. So... not off to a great start, then.

6:20AM: I wash my hands, then put my contacts in. That means holding my eyelids open so I can slide the little plastic discs into my eyes. This is probably the most intense face-touching I’ll do all day — at least until I take my contacts out.

6:34AM: Brushing my bangs out of my eyes, I come in contact with my own forehead. Also, does touching my hair count as touching my face? I decide to wear a ponytail.

6:35AM: The side of my nose itches, and I scratch it before I realize what I’m doing.

6:43AM: I lean the side of my face into the palm of my hand to read something, a habit and a mistake. How am I supposed to read anything now?

6:45AM: Apparently by turning my left hand into a fist and placing it against my lips. At least I haven’t left the house yet.

6:47AM: Scratched my cheek. Also my neck.

6:50AM: Dammit.

7:17AM: I only go this long without touching my face by making myself scrambled eggs with garlic. As long as both hands are occupied, I can’t touch my face. The minute I sit down to eat and my left hand is free, I immediately rub my eye.

7:19AM: Nose this time.

7:23AM: Eyes again.

7:29AM: Head resting on hand for who knows how long.

7:34AM: I had no idea this was a hobby of mine.

7:37AM: Apparently I have spent at least half my life with my hands on my face, and I didn’t notice until now. I have noticed now only because I apparently cannot stop doing this.

7:41AM: What is the point of having a face?

7:44AM: I mean, I can’t see it, so how do I know it’s there if I don’t touch it?

7:46AM: What would make this easier is if I could just peel my face off and keep it somewhere safe, for instance, under my bed.

7:49AM: Several Google searches later (“how to make face a void,” “face a black hole,” “peel off face live free”), I rub my eyes.

7:51AM: If I keep this diary I will do nothing else all day.

7:52AM: That sounds nice, actually. I’m not going to commute. I’m going to keep touching my face, apparently my favorite thing, at home.

7:55AM: Googling “skin care face removal.” Rub my nose.

7:59AM: Rubbing my eye.

8:02AM: Everyone keeps saying “stop touching your face” like it’s a simple and easy thing to do and their nose never itches. I bet they’re touching their faces constantly, too.

8:06AM: I am leaning on my right hand. No idea how long my cheek has been planted there.

8:09AM: What if I have touched my face without knowing it already this morning? What if this is an undercount?

8:11AM: Putting in eyedrops in the hopes this will get me to stop touching my face.

8:14AM: Maybe if I hadn’t been wasting my life with my hands on my face, I would have amounted to something.

8:17AM: Scratched my lip.

8:21AM: Removed an uncomfortable, grainy eye booger from my eye — by touching my face.

8:25AM: Does scratching my ear count as touching my face? Let’s say yes.

8:27AM: Nose itched again.

8:31AM: What I would prefer to having a face is simply a smooth, black reflective surface surrounded by my hair. I could use Windex to clean it.

8:32AM: All these transhumanists are busy trying to do nothing useful when they could be replacing my face with something that doesn’t itch. I resent them.

8:38AM: I’m a failure.

8:41AM: Forehead this time.

8:44AM: Searching for “face removal service” will get you waxing providers and other people who remove facial hair. This is not, however, what I am looking for.

8:54AM: Leaning on my right hand to read again. No idea how long it’s been there or what else on my face I’ve touched.

8:56AM: Ready to take a baseball bat to the kneecaps of anyone telling me to stop touching my face. I’m trying, Karen!

8:58AM: I am definitely not noticing every time I touch my face in this diary. Nose again.

9:00AM: What if I put on a ski mask and then only touch the ski mask?

9:07AM: The “easiest” way to prevent the coronavirus, huh?

9:12AM: Eyes again.

9:17AM: Went to the bathroom and washed my face so I could touch it with impunity. Felt good.

9:21AM: What am I supposed to lean my chin on, if not my hand?

9:23AM: Lips.

9:29AM: Nose.

9:33AM: Eyes.

9:34AM: Eyes again.

9:35AM: Eyes.

9:37AM: Searching Amazon for ski mask.

9:40AM: Despair.

9:43AM: Eyebrows.

9:47AM: Is my cat allowed to touch my face? She definitely just stuck her nose up one of my nostrils.

9:49AM: What if I fashion a mask out of aluminum foil and tie it to my face?

9:53AM: I am trapped in this itchy flesh prison and the only hope of escape is death, which seems inconvenient.

9:57AM: Leaning on my hand. What if I just keep my hands on my face and don’t remove them? They can’t pick up germs that way. Checkmate.

9:58AM: Rubbed my eye. I can’t keep living like this.

Now, at 10:03AM, I am aborting the mission because I touch my face too often; updating this diary has precluded any actual work getting done. Some things I have discovered: my will power is nil, I touch my face without noticing, I am getting increasingly desperate, and the “simple” advice to stop touching your face is so hard to follow that I would prefer to go on touching my face and simply never leave the house again.

In conclusion, my co-workers should expect me to work from home for the foreseeable future.

Total times touching my face: 57 (that I noticed, anyway)

Average times touching my face per hour: 14

How many times I will touch my face by the end of the day: at least 196

How many times I will touch my face this year: at least 71,736