In my old age I’ve become pretty intolerant of anything dirty. Like, if any one of an embarrassingly long list of things touches my hands, I will be hyper conscious of my unclean hands until I wash them.

Except if I’m camping. Or grilling. Basically, if there’s fire involved.

Really, all I have to do is start building a fire, I don’t even need to light it yet, and I forget all about whatever grossness might be getting on my hands. And let’s be clear, this is not about germs, it’s about grossness.

Something about a crackling fire, even if it’s in a charcoal grill as it was today, just kicks me into a totally different mode as a human animal. The smell of the fire, the soot on my hands, the smoke in my face.

I’m not gonna say it’s “primal” because that would be too easy.

A fire takes me out of my indoor air-conditioned sweat-wicking comfy-ass life and puts me somewhere else. In the weather. Getting warm. Cooking some food.

I have the same reaction to bugs now as I do to gross things. When I was a kid I could pick up all kinds of bugs and be fascinated by them. Now it’s just butterflies and ladybugs. Anything else I want to kill with fire just for getting close to me. What happened?

Why did I develop this crazy obsession with being clean? Particularly when no one is actually clean…

I’m not doing exposure therapy so don’t ask. Four years of diapers haven’t fixed me. Eating my kids’ half-bitten-and-drooled-on food off the ground hasn’t fixed me. I still feel like I really need to wash my hands afterwards. Dafuq is wrong with me?