Don’t Breathe on Me!

I would like to avoid getting swine flu.  Or any flu for that matter.  Or a cold.  And I suspect, just by living in LA, it may be a losing battle.  Everywhere I go, people are coughing, sniffling and just plain breathing on me with their damn germs.  I know, I know… I could just stay home and isolate myself for the next six months…. but here’s a novel idea:  If YOU are sick or even more importantly, if your kid is coughing and hacking…. stay home!  Spare your fellow passengers!

Yesterday, I wanted to treat my mom to a manicure/pedicure and lunch… a nice stress free girls day out for an out of towner.  The nail salon was pretty busy, about 12 people strong, and in walked a smart looking, upscale young mom with her four year old in tow.  Appearences can be decieveing.

The mother sat down and the kid proceeded to start coughing… of course she was to young to know to cover her mouth.  And when I say coughing, she was hacking, nose dripping, wheezing.  Being a kid, she touched everything she could get her hands on.  Grabbing nail polish bottles to show her mom (picking every single one up), running around talking to everyone… coughing, spewing spit and infection everywhere.  Bummer.

I wondered… If I were to nicely, very politely, ask the mom to keep her germ machine at home away from the general public, would she understand?  Would she react with care and consciousness to her fellow neighbors? I mulled it over for 1.5 seconds, envisioning various responses…but knew the answer.  The best outcome would probably be a glare.  The worst would be a screaming harangue.  I didn’t say anything.  I pitied the poor nail stylist who had to sit mouth to mouth with the young infection bomb who finally curled up panting and dripping mucus onto her moms lap.

Yet, really.  Isn’t that the thing to do?   Put aside your desire to go out and mingle and stay home and care for your sick child… or yourself.  It’s just plain courtesy.  I know I’m bitching here.  But this is a real problem.

Then we went to LAMILL, great coffee and snacks.  Safe at last.  But wait!  There, two tables over, was another hacker.  A guy, out having his coffee.  At least he covered his mouth and used the napkin when he honked uncontrollably.

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8 Replies to “Don’t Breathe on Me!”

  1. You’re asking for people to have common sense? On a blog? Ha!

    But, indeed, probably best not to incite an irresponsible parent. On one hand, maybe they do need a nudge – you’d be saying what everyone else is thinking, and maybe it would get across… but this sort of thing often comes across as telling someone how to parent.

  2. I am so with you on this one. I was an art teacher for 10 years, from when I was about 13 to 25 or so, and I got sick CONSTANTLY. Constantly. Like, so much it was irrespective of season. I’ve had children oozing sickness sneeze directly into my face & eyes, had them literally wipe snot on my sleeve, and had no end of grubby unwashed hands all over me. People need to stay home if they are sick, and they need to teach their kids how to cover their mouths when sneezing, coughing or eating, plus the importance of handwashing. Ugh. SO gross.

  3. As the mother of a pre-school aged child, I am treated to a near-constant barrage (mostly behind the safety of the internet) of people who don’t believe my child should ever be allowed out of the house, and therefore that I should never leave either unless I can afford a babysitter. People think children–even well-behaved children–should never eat in restaurants, fly on airplanes, or any of the other things that are sometimes necessary as part of society. I am quite sensitive to it, because it is usually totally ridiculous and unreasonable. I explain all this so that you’ll understand how very much I mean it when I say that I totally agree with you and can’t believe anyone would be so insensitive and selfish as to put a manicure ahead of courtesy and public health. What a bitch.

  4. I’m with Annika. My wife and I teach our 2-year old to cover her mouth when she sneezes or coughs. She doesn’t always do it, of course, but she still manages some of the time, and it’s all about trying to teach your little one what’s good behavior. The mom should have at least made an effort to get her kid to cover her mouth.

  5. SO nice to read this … felt I was the only one who seemingly feels this way. Between my coworkers and the general public, I feel doomed to get h1n1 plus a whole lot more this year. You can wash your hands and not touch doorknobs but you can’t not BREATHE the air. Ugh.

  6. I just got back from Asia– where they were hit hard by SARS a few years ago.

    People unabashedly wear masks in public (especially pregnant women and people who are sick– less so healthy folk). Many stores & restaurants have antibacterial hand sanitizer/alcohol at their entrances. Some places even had disposable face masks for free if you asked for them. Of course, you could also easily buy your own H1N1 cloth mask for NT$20-$30 (less than US$1).

    If someone is a little sick, they shouldn’t necessarily have to stay home and not be able to get on with their lives. But it’s not like they can’t be considerate to others and keep their germs to themselves if they do have to go out.

  7. (continued)

    It’s easy to wear a mask– you can get paper ones at the drugstore for a few bucks. And it’s also easy to bring your own hand sanitizer and use it often, especially if you’re sick.

    But if someone is *really* sick– yeah, stay home and recover!

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