Dear Babe

I feel that San Francisco is a very dirty, germ ridden city. I fall over on the bus and MUNI because I dare not grab the pole or handrail. I constantly Buffy kick doors open as I dare not touch the door handle. I have to use my elbow to navigate the screens on the ATM to avoid the layer of grime and grease. I left my last gym because I found spitting in the pool unseemly. Also, people in my office sneeze and cough over me daily. Recently, though I was overjoyed to discover a Purell Hand Sanitizer wipe dispenser in the Macys bathroom, I was dismayed that there was a pile of used wipes sitting underneath it.

I am afraid sometime soon I will stop leaving my house. What can I do?

Filthy in Frisco

Dear Filthsco,

I hear ya. Just today I had to grab one of the poles on the bus to stop myself from falling, and the tubular film of filth, that had congealed on the pole, crumpled under my hand like a dried condom. Then a woman seated near me started clipping her nails, I nearly barfed in her lap. Purell and other sterilizing hand potions don’t do it for me. All I can think is “oh great, the barf on my hands is now sterile”. So for just these reasons I try to come prepared with one of these the following:

1. An extra long sleeved shirt. In college I discovered that I could avoid touching things with my hand flesh by covering my hands with the fabric of my sleeves. This technique is pretty good as long as nothing you touch is wet, and you bleach the hell out of your shirts every day.

2. Gloves. Wool with a leather grip are best. These aren’t the best for wet filth either but they help cut the icy wind in this town. I’ve been thinking that surgical gloves might be the way to go forward. I know the flesh toned rubber is kind of gross but you could draw on them with a felt pen and make them cool.

3. My new invention (hopefully, one day). I call it the City Suit. It’s basically a clear shower cap that covers your entire body except for your face. An elastic band surrounds your face, holding the suit on and leaving your eyes, nose and mouth parts exposed, for safety. It will be bio-degradable so you can just toss it in a recycling bin when you’ve arrived at your destination. All I need are financial backers and a good manufacturer in the US and we’d be covered (pun intended).


Nagging questions holding you back? Babe Scanlon’s got your answer. A SF native, she’s been figuring this place out far longer than she cares to admit, and now she’s ready to share. Email her at and let the veil of confusion lift. Please do keep in mind: Babe Scanlon is not presenting herself as an expert in anything that means you can sue her or the Appeal if you take her advice and your life tanks. Her recommendations are just that: recommendations.

the author

Babe Scanlon is a writer living and working in San Francisco. She's worked as an archaeologist, computer game designer, agent at Agent Provocateur and hypnotherapist. She is controlling your mind at this very moment.

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