BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP CRASH
The sound of your alarm clock being thrown against the wall is jolting to the senses, but it's still far more pleasant than the sound of the alarm, itself. In a daze on account of your sudden arousal, you scramble out of bed and examine the victimized clock. No lasting damage. Darn...
Sitting down on the edge of the bed, you smack your lips and wet your dry mouth with saliva. The sourness you taste is due to a build-up of bacteria at the back of your tongue. When awake, your saliva -- which contains a bacteria-killing enzyme called lysozyme -- restricts this growth. But when asleep, saliva production is significantly ramped down, allowing foul-tasting bacteria to grow relatively unchecked.
After freshening up in the shower and getting dressed, your thoughts turn to the rumbling in your tummy. Your appetite, which is often affected by the trillions of resident bacteria in your stomach, is ravenous.
Sifting through the pantry and refrigerator, you select a tasty combination of breakfast foods -- yogurt and granola -- and blend them in a bowl. Each spoonful of the delicious concoction delivers a dose of friendly probiotics, including Lactobacillus bulgaris, Streptococcus thermophilus, and Bifidus regularis. These, and other strains of bacteria, may help lower blood pressure, treat diarrhea, improve immune function, and potentially even provide a boost to your metabolism.
When finished with breakfast, you casually drop the dirty bowl into the kitchen sink, where it will accumulate countless numbers of bacterial residents by the evening. And when you use your worn kitchen sponge to clean the bowl at the end of the day, each milliliter of fetid water you squeeze out will contain up to ten million bacteria!
After breakfast, your next notable brush with bacteria will arise from your toothbrush. That's because every time you flush the toilet, it releases an aerosol spray of miniscule water droplets -- almost "like the Fourth of July" -- which can spread about 6-8 feet from the source. If your toothbrush is within range, fecal bacteria will latch on.
Fed, freshened, and fully attentive, you stroll out the door. A spring rain fell overnight, leaving traces of wetness on the ground and a musky, yet reinvigorating aroma in the air. That bracing smell is produced from the Actinobacteria that inhabit the soil, specifically a type of chemical called "geosmin".
After inhaling and exhaling a lungful of the crisp morning air, you head off to your next destination. Whether that destination is work, school, the grocery store, or pretty much anywhere, more bacteria will undoubtedly be waiting.
But don't be afraid, bacteria and humans have coexisted and competed for eons. It's just the world we live in.