Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Souvenir of America

Half of our office has been sick over the past two weeks. One coworker was out almost all last week, came in on Friday just to infect two more of us, and then has stayed home again every day this week. I got sick on Sunday and took off the next two days. Another coworker stayed home Monday, and a different one has been taken down today.

For me, it was only a minor cold, but I have learned by now that if I don't singlemindedly hurl myself into bed at the first sign of illness and devote all my resources to recovery, my cold will just get worse over the next three days and I'll end up recuperating for weeks. I could have probably gone in to work yesterday, but I didn't want to wear myself out before my big evening.

You see, yesterday evening was the night I was scheduled to accompany my boyfriend to the airport for his two-week trip to Indonesia.

My presence was entirely unnecessary. I could have just said goodbye at my house. Yesterday morning, I told him I wasn't sure if I should go because I didn't want to get his mom sick. She was supposed to come as well and then drop me off at home while she took his car for maintenance in his absence. He convinced me it would be OK because she had already been sick last week (I was going to argue the "different strains" case, but my throat was too wheezy). So I went. But by the time we actually left his home, the party had expanded by a dad and a nephew. Three of us were crammed into the back seat, and I was feeling regretful and trying hard not to cough too often.

Then we got to the airport. It was packed with people waiting to check in to their flights to destinations all over Asia and possibly Africa, and as I stood with my boyfriend in an interminable line, I told him again how guilty I felt for coming and potentially spreading my cold all around the planet. He then started recounting the entire plot of Contagion, which didn't make me feel a whole lot better.

I tried not to breathe in anyone's direction, and avoided touching my face. I coughed into my coat lapels and tried to do it inconspicuously. He then tried to reassure me by saying that I was just giving everyone a souvenir from the USA.

Happy travels, world! Next time I'm sick, I think I'll stay away from airports.