Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Face Masks aren't Part of the Sexy Nurse Costume

I exaggerated earlier when I described the dorm through jet lag and culture shock. The scariest thing about it, really, is the kid down the hall, the lower half of whose face I’ve never seen because he’s always wearing one of those clinical masks that were so prevalent in the media photos from SARS.

It’s really, really, really creepy to see someone who’s not a medical practitioner of some kind wearing that thing. And likewise creepy to hear this godchild of Annabel Lee’s coughing up his lungs every so often.

And I was wondering why my antimicrobial soap seemed to be emptying so much quicker this time around.

In all honesty I’m not as scared of contracting a virus as I’m scared of the human response to perceived threats. It was not a pleasant half hour from the time we started our descent to Domodedovo and the pilot came on: “Oh and by the way, when we land, don’t get up from your seats. Medical officials will board the plane to check for swine flu” – through the time the officials did said sweep, which consisted of using a hand-held, radar-gun style thermometer to check every passenger. I have no idea what they would have done if someone had a temperature higher than the norm. Personal quarantine? Plane-wide quarantine?

They let us go before they had gotten all the way through economy class, so I was disembarking at the same time one of the officials returned. I kak? asked one of her compatriots. [And, so?]

She just shook her head. (She was also wearing one of the creepy sanitary masks.)

Ny, slava Bogu. [Praise the Lord.]

I’ll withhold my own praise until after getting through Christmas.

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