‘Tis the beginning of the season in which multiple sick students come to class. I’ve not found myself too distracted so far by the coughing and sniffling. But I couldn’t help but notice it during the midterm exam Wednesday night. We had a Norwalk outbreak in a res a few years back and ever since then I have had a certain consciousness of the potential for the spread of illness at school. I’m especially conscious of it in the washroom across the hall from the classroom where I do all my teaching this year which I use to wash chalk off my hands and in which I have to fill my water glass, as well as use for its obvious purposes. If I’m gunna catch cold, there can’t be many places better as a source than this.
With all that in mind, I took a couple of small bottles of hand sanitizer to school. Standing in my office about to apply some, I half jokingly offered some to a colleague who passed by and he readily accepted. So we had what I thought was an amusing sort of communion before our freshman classes.
I don’t think I’m becoming increasingly obsessed, four-horsemen- or Howard Hughes-like, with pestilence, but since the SARS outbreak, or at least since Bird Flu was news, I’ve thought a lot about the effects of epidemics socities and civilizations. I recall Michael Capper telling me about a talk he’d heard in India by an epidemiologist who spoke about the inevitability of a major outbreak in India which would solve India’s population woes, but also seriously smack its economic growth and advancement (and all a little too Malthusian in tone I thought at the time).
Of course, I’m also thinking about food safety these days. I don’t think I’ve eaten coldcuts in 6 months and don’t know if I’ll ever be able to again. Lol, the SO (Significant Other, for the benefit of RF) and I were oot and aboot Sunday and decided to have fast food. We made a conscious decision not to eat at the Home Depot Harvey’s since the business in North Bay. What was the joke I heard? “Harvey’s Makes Your Hamburger a Bull Fecal Thing?” (I’m willing to bet its source is the condiments and that in future you won’t have those spooned onto your burgers – we don’t eat the Costco hotdog anymore, cuz we were awfully close to food-poisoned last time and I blame it on the communal relish etc.) So anyway, we went to the recently renovated McDooies. And the place was an absolute fucking sty. It was so bad that a fella talked to the manager (who was kinda snotty with him and gave the totally wrong response of ‘we were too busy to clean up’); he took a bunch of pix with his cellphone. I told him I was going to dash off an email when I got home. I didn’t because, oddly enough, the McD’s website doesn’t provide an addy. Nor does it give a toll-free number. So, I guess I’ll end this here and go make the long distance call and I honestly hope it contributes to the unemployment of Manager Jess and maybe a couple of the kids on shift (and it was just kids working and not +50 year-old women as on weekdays – coincidence, I think not).