When I got to the radio station yesterday, the above sign was posted on every doorway of our building – alerting us to the presence of Swine Flu in the day care center which adjoins the BioSciences Building. I have to admit that for about two and a half seconds I was tempted to go running down the hall screaming “let me out of here!” at the top of my lungs, jump into my car, and head for Fargo, North Dakota. (Maybe it’s because I just watched the movie “Outbreak” with Dustin Hoffmann about a week ago. Talk about unfortunate timing.) But my panic gland stopped firing almost right away, particularly when I realized that everyone else around me was managing to stay calm. And what was most instructive was when I went to my car at the end of my shift and I saw what looked like a roughly normal number of kids playing outside of the day care center as though nothing were amiss. It says something about the parents in question that they didn’t react to the news by keeping their children home. . . and if those parents can stay calm, so can I.
Actually, I have a long history of blatant disregard for germs. I eat food that’s been dropped on the floor – my hand washing habits are spotty in more ways than one – I protest mightily every time Kathy insists on washing the sheets in our guest bedroom before a guest comes to visit (don’t worry, ye future guests: I’ve never won this particular argument and I know I never will) – and I drive a car that is essentially a public health hazard on wheels. So the fact that I’m giving even a moment’s thought to the Swine Flu defies all logic.
Maybe it’s the term “pandemic” that has garnered my full attention.
At any rate, I am becoming much better acquainted with soap and water, as are a lot of people I know. Thank goodness for silver linings.