(Updated 5/2/09. I typed the majority of this while “on the road” on 4/27, but didn’t get around to clicking “publish” until today).
I’m sitting at a Starbucks in O’Hare terminal 3, quietly freaking out. In the past ten minutes, I’ve seen at least 10 people in surgical maks walk by. Welcome to the beginning of swineflumania.
President Obama says to be concerned, but not to panic. I’m straddling the line between the two, as I’m about to go to Mobile, Alabama, about as far south of Chicago as is possible in the United States.
At least it’s just a variety of flu. If it were some sort of hemorrhaghic fever, say Lassa or Marburg, it would be time to start texting goodbye to family and friends and turn to Jesus in the proverbial foxhole. The shivers and fever I can take. It’s the whole “death” thing that turns me off.
I’m not going to let a near-certain pandemic stand in my way of fun, though. I’m ready to take in antebellum mansions and southern hospitality. All while keeping a safe distance from other human beings. And pigs.