Monday, 21 September 2009

Now My Feet Won't Touch The Ground Now My Head Won't Stop

I do karate barefoot on mats that are covered in sweat daily and cleaned not so daily. The mats are sticky in places and smell bad, is what I'm saying. I try not to think about the mats when I'm standing on them.

I get home from karate and I go straight to the bathroom to clean my feet. First I douse them with rubbing alcohol. Then I have a shower and spend a few minutes scrubbing my feet with soap. Then I dry off and do another round of rubbing alcohol.

It's not the germs I worry about. It's not the sweat of strangers lingering on my feet that makes me clenchy. I've never had any sort of foot disease that has scared me senseless. It's just ... why not clean my feet? It takes five minutes. It seems logical to me to spend five minutes cleaning my feet to prevent any sort of foot mushrooms or toe plague or whatever it is I could contract from standing on scummy flooring. It doesn't seem abnormal to me.

But ... Shawn doesn't clean his feet after karate. He comes home and has a shower and cracks open a beer or checks his email or plays with the pups. He doesn't think about what could be growing on his feet. He doesn't worry that his toenails are going to fall out.

It makes me mistrust my brain. It makes me worry that maybe I'm reacting too strongly to other situations. Like the motorcycle.

Shawn took a professional motorcycle safety course that provided ten hours of classroom training and twenty hours of road training. He bought a jacket with armour in it, gloves, boots, and a full helmet with a face shield. He bought a motorcycle with an engine that matches his skill level. And yet ... I worry. I worry about things that I can't articulate because writing them down makes them more real.

At the same time, I'm concerned that my anxiety is an overreaction. Like the karate feet. I'm worried about my worry. Feel free to sympathize with Shawn; the internal drama has made me a very unpleasant person to live with lately. Which is frustrating because I don't want to be mad about this. I don't want to be the shrewish wife who doesn't let her husband have any fun. But I kind of don't want him to have any fun if his idea of fun could result in him getting smushed.


  1. What if you practice just enough to become better than him ... and pull some karate move that breaks his arm. At least then, he won't be riding a motorcycle nor will he be going to karate classes for quite some time. And you can give your nerves a little vacation.

  2. I took the BC Safety Council course back when I had my bike, and it's a good one.

    Being on a bike is like being in a car - it is all about the defensive driving. Shawn is a smart dude. He will be FINE.

  3. I'm a highly anxious/stressed person so I know where you're coming from. (Although it never really helps to be.)

    I'd more than likely rub my feet with alcohol and then wash them as soon as I got back from class too. Germs are just way too gross not too. And yes I'd be worried about the bike thing too.

    But it seems like Shawn is doing every precaution to be safe and I think he's going to be just fine.

    Worrying so much only hurts us in the end. Try to mentally work through it. Everything will be fine.

  4. As someone who used to ride a 125cc motorbike, and quit because the thought of dying just got too scary, I can understand you're fear. I don't think you taking a little extra precaution when it comes to genuinely worrisome things (like getting athletes foot or your husband getting hit by a careless driver) is something ELSE you need to worry about.

    I'm a worrier too, so I don't think my opinion counts as much, but it would really, really bother me if my husband refused to take my concern into consideration when doing something dangerous like riding a motorcycle on a regular basis. You have a right to be worried. There's a reason the highway patrol call motorcycle riders "organ donors".

    Sorry to sound so harsh, but you're so sweet and it bums me out that you're being made to feel like a annoying wife when you have a perfectly valid concerns.

  5. Oh honey, I understand completely. My boyfriend rides a street bike and he dirt bikes. He wears all the fancy, protective, padded gear and in the 15ish yrs he's been riding, the worst that's ever happened is a broken thumb (which, oddly enough occured one week after we started dating.) And he's so safe. And I trust his skills completely.

    It's the other people on the road that make me worry about his safety.

    And they're the reason I make him text me when he gets where he's going when he takes his street bike or goes dirt biking on Sundays so I know he's still breathing.

    And sometimes I hate him SO. MUCH. because of the biking. And I feel like he's so selfish. And if something happens to him, I'll be like "I TOLD YOU SO" but then what would the point of that be? Because he'd be hurt.

    And so I keep on loving him.

    :-( I feel you.

  6. I think it is rational to to shower afterwards and scrub your feet in the shower. But a double alcohol wash with a shower in between perhaps is a bit excessive. You just have to trust that the shower itself is going to do the job.

    Just like it is totally viable to worry about your husband riding a motorcycle, but trust that your husband is going to ride smart.

  7. I don't really have anything constructive to add, except that I soak my feet in white vinegar instead of rubbing alcohol after the gym. It softens them instead of drying them out, but still kills germs. I also scrub them with a pumice stone, which I soak regularly in bleach to keep clean.

    Motorcycles are scary. It's not the motorcyclists that are bad - it's the other drivers. I understand your concern. I did date a guy for a while who drove a motorcycle; it lost its novelty the first time he had to drive it in the rain, and he sold it shortly thereafter. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.

  8. Oh, the communal mats. I feel your pain. As a fruity theatre student, I had to be barefoot on shared (and never cleaned) mats for all four years of college. I am not sure how I made it through without losing both feet to scabies or some shit.

    It sounds like Shawn is being as safe as he can be. Try to remember that worrying doesn't make him safer (easier said than done, I KNOW). (And full disclosure: I would be most upset if Brad got a motorcycle.)

  9. I understand your concren, but he has done the right things and has taken the class, has the gear, and has the right size bike, so he is on the right track.

    Now for the important question, what bike is he getting??

  10. 1) Have you heard of MRSA? Wash your feet.
    2) Nurses are with the patrolmen - except they call them "donor-cycles."

    Of course, worrying to the point where you're unhappy isn't going to make things less risky...

    love you dude. let us all know if you figure this one out!

  11. After getting plantar (foot) warts in high school during cross-country season that were terribly painful to have removed I understand the foot paranoia.

    And there is nothing "shrew"-ish about having concerns about your husband riding a motorcycle. I honestly would have a hard time enjoying an activity that caused my spouse so much anxiety.

  12. I'm a worrier too, and whenever I feel like I'm spinning too fast I have a hard time grounding myself.

    But if Mister had a bike I would worry too. I think the solution is to implant him with a GPS chip or at least to get him an iPhone and use the parental control GPS apps.

    I think it's totally natural, miss. He'll be ok =)

  13. I hate motorcycles - they really scare me. And I can't go to bed with dirty feet so I can only imagine the frets about the foot rot on the mats.

  14. When Andrew wouldn't stop talking about wanting a SCOOTER I freaked out. Thus, your freaking out over a motorcycle= totally justified.

  15. WORRY ABOUT THE MOTORCYCLE. That's all I'm sayin'. The foot thing may be overkill, but the mechanized death trap is totally justified.

    (He'll be fine, just so you know, but you'll probably never stop worrying.)

  16. i think i'm a shawn. i don't even SHOWER right away after coming home from the sweaty mats, half the time.

    and you already have my previous comment on motorcycles and how they're kind of fun and stuff ;-) the defensive driving thing is VERY TRUE though, and those courses are super helpful in that regard. it's like being on a bicycle in traffic: you just sort of have to assume no one sees you, and drive accordingly, and all = well.

  17. Hi. I've been reading you ever since lifetodate said you were awesome -- and I agree with him: you are awesome. Anyway, I used to study karate and just wanted to say that you're right to wash your feet. There's lots of gross stuff lurking on those floors. (Sorry I can't offer any good advice on the motorcycle issue... they terrify me)