Tuesday, January 06, 2009

the cold, yes, that one

I have "the cold" again. I fought with this thing all god damned Fall it feels like and finally, while I was totally unemployed with no interviews or even good looking jobs to apply to, I was not sick with it.

Now, this week, I have two interviews. One is a job that I really really (really) want. And last week, I got "the cold" again. Today, I woke up 3 hours before my first interview (at the job I don't really really want but can't afford not to interview for) drenched in sweat and feeling like someone filed all around the insides of my trachea and pharynx. "The cold" is not your typically stuffy head blurg thing, it's unique in that it is, more than anything else, quite painful. I can hide a fairly large amount of pain for short times, however, the cold - since it is a cold - includes sniffles and gurgles and coughing. This makes it harder to hide. My instinct when sick is to not go out, thus there is no need to hide anything. But man, I NEED a job.

Since developing a few chronic health problems, I find that I have a sort of smoldering resentment for people who bring their nasty cold out in public for all of us to share in. Sure, some of them might be in a crappy position - no sick time or some other compelling reason (like desperately needed job interviews) to be out and about showering the populace with noxious bacteria, mycoplasms, or viruses. But I know there are people out there who just get up and go with their cold for really no good reason whatsoever. Explicitly, I doubt they give a second thought to it. Implicitly, I suspect these people are waiting to get an award for perfect attendance.

E.g., yesterday, I was at the public library checking out a new (for me) book. There were quite a few people there including a woman with two kids. The woman wrapped up at the check out desk and after standing around looking blank for a few seconds, the kids started to move on to follow her to the exit. The boy paused though then turned to face the rest of us waiting in line and let loose several big coughs at us.

Not only did he fail to cover his mouth, I saw that there was no evidence at all of even a half hearted attempt to appear to cover it. You know, the slightly raised arm or hand that doesn't make it to the face but that comes up nearly reflexively in someone who was at least taught manners. When I see this shit, it's all I can do to not say something. The only thing that stops me is that I am well aware of the weird social approach we as a society have to illness and sick behavior and I know that in this context, I'd be the nutjob who is "paranoid" about germs while they'd be the normal people who don't let being sick stop or even slow them down enough to cover their fucking mouths.

I emailed my first interviewer this morning to let him know I had the cold, tell him I was still interested in interviewing today, but offered to reschedule if he didn't want to share in my cold. This is not a move I was happy to be making (as I said above, I know my views on public health and cold sharing are minority at best) but truly, I cannot go sit in what will probably be a small room with someone for what will probably be at least 45 minutes and quite likely share this wretched thing with him. Sure, odds are he's one of the masses of idiots who march around sick waiting for the perfect attendance medal. But what if he's HIV positive or otherwise immunocompromised? What if he has a spouse, kid, or parent he cares for who is on chemotherapy? What if like me, he just had some really important things to do this week, things that could affect his life in a very significant way?

1 comment:

Bubblewench said...

Sorry to hear you're sicky! Hope you feel better soon. You are totally awesome to be so considerate. Most people wouldn't be.

Good luck w/interviews!