Many are open about the pain and loneliness they feel as a result of the pandemic. People are living without touch, affection, sex, and even human presence. When I close my eyes and imagine this, my heart fills up with sadness and love and I feel less alone. Doing so also allows me to count the blessings I have (good friends who do give me presence, company and verbal affection). But there is one thing that nobody has validated for me; that makes me feel so deeply and desperately alone…

Nobody is talking about how the pandemic has changed their relationship to their nose. More specifically to the picking of their nose. Now dear reader, before you jump all over me with judgmental cries like “that’s disgusting!” or “that’s silly!” I beg you to hear me out; for if you are someone who can say, “I never pick my nose!” then you are either in deep denial or in a small group of people who have a stick in their butthole in lieu of a finger in their nose. If this is you then I suggest you quickly move away from this blog. I’ll go ahead and give you a minute….Gone?…Good.

I miss the time when I gave very little thought to that sensual, cleansing ritual of nose picking. For me there were two motivating forces for this rarely written about, but quite universal, activity: the felt sense that something was clogging my nasal passages and boredom (I list those two things in no particular order though when the two motives overlapped it was the glorious–and proverbial–two birds with one stone situation). But now…now things have changed. One must think twice–or even thrice–about touching one’s own face. One can no longer pick one’s nose in any spontaneous way. Sure, one might say to oneself: “Hey, I just washed my hands.” But did you wash them well enough? Are you sure you want to take that risk?”

Last night after work I sat on my couch with a deep and soulful hankering for a good nose-picking. I could feel that the extreme heat of the day had dried out my boogers. I stopped myself from immediately giving in for the reasons listed above. But my self-efficacy was strong, dear reader. And so….I washed my hands in the kitchen sink, took a shower (it was a hot day so the shower served a dual purpose), and applied hand sanitizer.

I started with the right nostril and received immediate gratification. A dried out piece of booger was gently and mindfully pulled and with it a came a tail of gooey messy snot. I wiped on the piece of toiler paper I had set on my desk and looked at the healthy (white) snot with a sense of satisfaction. As if this satisfaction were not enough I shut my left nostril with my left index finger and took a sniff through my right nostril. Glorious breath!!! Though not quite as satisfying, mining the the left nostril was, nevertheless, a positive experience.

And so it is that I successfully added a soulful experience to a period of life where so much is missing. My Friday night is free. I plan to, once again, apply my three step cleaning ritual, relax with a silly superhero movie, and engage in this wonderfully sensual (erotic even?!) activity. Just imagining that there might be one person out there who can relate to all of this…well it fills my heart with joy. And though few will likely confess…I feel confident that you are out there.

A good day to each and every one of you.

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