Swine Flu

Around the peak of the swine flu hysteria, I engaged in the slightest kerfuffle on Facebook. A guy from high school had left a status update concerning swine flu. It connected the phrases “swine flu”, “left wing media” and “blah blah blah”.

Now, was it overblown, was it not? I don’t know. And I have to tell ya, I don’t really care. I’d rather it be overblown than under. (Once you decide it was underblown, it’s really too late, isn’t it?) And anyway, given my job, for me it is not overblown. But I do understand that not everyone is in my position. However, this guy used obvious language that was about turning it into a political snipe fest, which I just can’t stand. I mean puh-lease. Can’t something not be about you and your dislike of the other political side? That kind of crap drives me crazy.

So I responded to him, saying yes, I’m sure it was a left-wing conspiracy. And when I was on the plane working across the ocean with 200 people from god-knows-where 3 times a week, I could protect myself with the magic words “blah blah blah” and know that everything would be alright. He private messaged me saying “Um, I’m not sure if you’re on my side or not. But I think you were being sarcastic.” Bingo.

So now, several weeks later, the drama of swine flu (or Mexican Flu, as they call it in much of Europe) has subsided. On Wednesday I flew to Brussels on a 757. (On that new single-aisle charmer of an airplane that my company has decided they are going to cram people into and fly them across the ocean, even though it was never meant to fly inter-continental so everyone is eating elbows and getting angry – including the crew? Yes, it sucks as bad as it sounds, but I digress…) Got there on Thursday morning, had a great layover just relaxing, writing, then meeting my friends Amy and Matt and Pieter for dinner. Bright and early Friday morning I arrive at the airport, am greeted by some company friends who are always working the flights. “Sarah, I have a letter for you.”

“For me?” I love mail.

“For you.”

I open it up…”Dear Crew member XXX, We have been informed by the Belgian crisis center that a passenger you carried from JFK to BRU on Wednesday night has been confirmed to have the N1H1 virus…”, blah blah blah, “you have been exposed…”.

Well, that is just awesome.

The jackass who had it must’ve known s/he was sick on Wed night, if they were tested and confirmed by Fri morning, but we noticed no one who was ill. The letter doesn’t even tell us what class of service the germ-spreader was in, so I have no idea how much contact I had with him/her. I think the chances of me getting it are slim (knock on wood), but wouldn’t you know that my new baby niece is headed my way this week?

My company is apparently not worried, as they offered nothing more than Tamiflu IF I become sick within 10 days. (As long as I have my letter as proof, of course. They’re so caring.) I’d think if it was a big concern then there would be motions to keep exposed crew from the public, since we’re the people who will really spread it around the world. Gosh, I hope I remembered to say the magic protective words sometime during the night. Maybe I should say them now, just in case. “Swine Flu, blah blah blah.”


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