Friday, August 24, 2012

I'm Afraid of Americans!

The other day I had to help a coworker with a technical issue, as I do on pretty much an hourly basis during a typical day of work.  I cringed though when I saw this particular coworker calling me.  She’s a nice person who doesn’t bother me with trivial matters—and believe me, I see lots of eye-rolling, trivial, are-you-freakin'-kidding-me-you-couldn't-figure-this-out-on-your-own matters—but the reason I cringed when I saw her name pop up on my phone was that she’s been sick for the past couple of weeks.  So sick, in fact, that I’ve heard her coughing from my office on the other side of the building.

I resolved her technical issue without much ado, but I made the mistake of not using hand sanitizer when I returned to my desk.  I don't typically use hand sanitizer, but I always keep a bottle in the event I have to assist a person who is sick.  But as I said, I just forgot this time around.  Sure enough, that night I had a tickle in my throat.  Yesterday morning I awoke and felt like a zombie.  Caffeine didn't help.  Walking a mile at lunch didn't help.  I went through half a box of tissues the latter half of the day.  I popped a couple of daytime cold relief tablets and pushed through, but last night I just crawled into bed and stayed there for something like four hours, watching TV and zoning out.  Today when I got up, I actually felt a little better, but my nose was still running (never stopped all throughout the night, I swear), and my voice was raspy.

I hate being sick!

Then I woke my son up to get him ready for school.  He’s always a little temperamental in the mornings, but as I was getting him dressed, he seemed unusually belligerent.  Then he let out this hacking cough that, quite frankly, scared me a little.  Yes, I think I hugged him a few times last night, but I was careful not to let him share my food or drinks.  Still, in whatever interaction we had, he seemed to catch my cold.

I’m just amazed at how easily people can pick up germs and transmit them on to others.  This little virus travelled from my coworkers’ keyboard to my body to my son in the span of a little more than 24 hours.

The writer in me just can’t help thinking how vulnerable we are as species.  From a terrorist attack to an alien invasion, the easiest way to wipe out the human race would be to infect us all with some little nasty bug.  Turn us all into zombies or kill us all entirely.  It makes me want to wear a face mask like the people in China who were deathly afraid of acquiring H1N1!

On somewhat of a different note, I swear I’ve seen four or five car accidents in the past couple of months.  In one instance, we were sitting at a light with two cars ahead of us, the light turned green, the car in the front proceeded through the intersection, and a car in the perpendicular lane slammed into it, spinning it around 360 degrees.  Thankfully there weren’t any major injuries, but I watched that car speeding, the driver on a cell phone, and she just didn’t seem to see that red light at all.  A week or so later, a VP with one of my company’s clients was killed in a head-on collision where a truck crossed the center line and slammed into his car.  And just yesterday I saw two minor fender benders just ON THE WAY HOME FROM WORK!

I think I can understand why people are agoraphobic.  I’m just glad I don’t live in Chicago, where gun violence has increased 30% since last year.  Man, I’d never leave my freakin’ house!  Pizza delivery and UPS guys would know me on a first-name basis!

Let's wake up, America.  Put the guns away.  Put those cell phones away and pay attention while you drive. If you're sick, stay home!  And if you absolutely have to go to work, sanitize your work area and everything else you touch!  Please, let's think about how our actions may affect others.  Just this once?

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