By Alex Guttman
My relationship with Cold and Flu Season is comparative to that of a stoner and College Finals Week. Done almost nothing to prepare, pathetic “hope for the best” attitude and we both have inhalers that make us feel better. Equipped with mom-made sweaters, extra-strength Benadryl and habit-inducing nasal spray, every year I unsuccessfully battle my way right into a heavy dosage of orange Gatorade, chicken soup and Looney Tunes. Welcome to the mind of an immune-challenged man—
— Start Transmission —
It has been eight days since my initial exposure to the virus. The female creature I contractually live with seems to be healing at a startlingly rapid rate but–I have a feeling that’s exactly what the illness wants me to think. False sense of security. Oldest trick in the book.
My place of income, the location of which I am crammed within close proximity to my co-employees, has seen a frenzy of cases over the past few days. “Dropping like flies,” they say–-only these flies don’t die, they just buzz around. While being understanding of the economical state of my peers, I quietly loath their public pre-pharmaceutical presence.
Upon my midday personal assessment-–I candidly must applaud my successful illness avoid-ment efforts. All seems to be functioning properly and without misstep or suspicion of bacterial infiltration. The nature of the illness is still unclear to me. I’ve overheard symptoms ranging from severe abdominal discomfort to violent fever to madness.
This afternoon my co-abode dweller sent me a mildly coded message. My tireless hours logged with the individual were essential to deciphering the transmission–“What do you want tonight?” Clearly asking if I’d be interested in sharing rations for the evening. Being so low on provisions and quite frankly, desperate for a warm meal–I wearily agreed. Figuring she’d follow suit by bartering a meal from a Pacific-coast flavored establishment within the area–I’d pleasantly receive a meal wrapped with the sanitary security I needed to consume it.
But to my horror, upon slipping open the front door with my coat-sleeve–-I felt that holiday-heat and smell of the oven. Warm, home-cooked senses overwhelmed me, accompanied by a heavy lump in my gullet. My guard was down and I fell into a trap. “How was I to know?” I initially barked in my mind, but rationale prevailed–I should have known.
The only way to my chambers was to pass directly in her line of sight. I defeatedly walked into the feeding area, like a man to the gallows. I was met with a comforting (bordering diabolical) smile, a set plate and silverware I can only assume was teeming with the infestation. Coughs, sneezes and nasal-trumpeting jarred the uneasy conversation as food was plopped from previously-used skewers. A 4/5 empty communal bowl of greens is tossed my way with a hearty phrase received more as a dare, “Go ahead, finish it.” Every bite I fight the urge to enjoy–but know this very well could be my last.
I’ve since washed face, hands and mouth. I’ve hopefully revitalized my immune system with power shots of both zinc and vitamin C. All I can do now is hope.
— Transmission end —