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Just Another Wal-Mart Trip

May 2, 2009

I was checking out MSN news the other day and there was an article about the swine flu with the headline “What does pandemic mean for me?” I read it with a sort of half-hearted interest, because while I’m not pressing the panic button just yet, I’d love to know whether or not MSN thinks I should lock the doors and stay in doors, or buy a few months’ supply of latex gloves.

 

It was the typical stuff—wash your hands, exercise caution, wedon’tknowmuchaboutitbutithasthepotentialtomutateandkilleveryone, blah, blah, blah.  

 

I was relieved to note that at the time no cases had been confirmed in Virginia, and only a scattering across the United States. Those that have been confirmed across the United States seem to be relatively mild, so that’s good. Perhaps it’s naïve of me, but I’m hoping that as a fairly healthy nation, one with passing good rules of engagement and hygiene, so to speak, that our entire experience with swine flu will be a relatively mild one. I wish that all nations were in the same place.

 

Then I awakened the next morning and discovered that the flu had been confirmed in two cases in Virginia. My reaction to the news was interesting. It wasn’t an instantaneous recoil, where I had to grab the kids to me and pull them out of school and all public places. It was more of a slow “stepping back” throughout the day, a heightened awareness where I found myself using my shirt hem to grasp doorknobs and my shoulder to “scratch” my nose. It culminated in a late afternoon trip to Wal-Mart, where the term “pandemic” lost its vague outlines and took on a clear definition.

 

A trip to Wal-Mart is typically a trip to the third and fourth levels of Dante’s Hell, where the gluttonous and avaricious reign supreme. I play bumper carts and press the button on the “No, Lawson, not today,” recording over and over and over again until we have finally made it safely to the check out lines. I choose the one that has only two people waiting, and wait. And wait. And wait. Because somehow, no matter how much care I select my line with, I always manage to get the shmuck who simply cannot scan items two-handed. (I worked at Kroger, remember? I know that it can, in fact, be done with alacrity.) Plus there’s a lady with coupons. And there’s someone whose check doesn’t want to go through properly.

 

So while we’re waiting, I’m suddenly very keyed into the fact that my son is touching everything in the impulse aisle. Everything. Just like he’s touched a zillion other things since we entered this superstore, through which probably a couple thousand people have shuffled today.  And…wait for it…oh! There he goes! He touched his face. I started looking around frantically. In this emporium of everything, there’s bound to be some hand sanitizer somewhere…ah…there it is.

 

Gotta love Purell.

 

I normally go very light on things like antibacterial hand gels and soaps, because overuse of them can actually backfire (for information, see a great article at the CDC http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol7no3_supp/levy.htm). Every once in a while, though, I’m thinking a little antibacterial hand gel can be a good thing.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 2, 2009 11:33 am

    Interview Request

    Hello Dear and Respected,
    I hope you are fine and carrying on the great work you have been doing for the Internet surfers. I am Ghazala Khan from The Pakistani Spectator (TPS), We at TPS throw a candid look on everything happening in and for Pakistan in the world. We are trying to contribute our humble share in the webosphere. Our aim is to foster peace, progress and harmony with passion.

    We at TPS are carrying out a new series of interviews with the notable passionate bloggers, writers, and webmasters. In that regard, we would like to interview you, if you don’t mind. Please send us your approval for your interview at my email address “ghazala.khi at gmail.com”, so that I could send you the Interview questions. We would be extremely grateful.

    regards.

    Ghazala Khan
    The Pakistani Spectator
    http://www.pakspectator.com

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