Well, it has happened again. Every year I get a head cold that lasts for, maybe, a week or so. It usually occurs when I travel for the holidays. It could be stress related, but I think the culprit is being cooped up in a plane with a bunch of germ-infested human beings. Aren’t they disgusting creatures? Come on, let’s be honest here. We don’t have to use any names. But, when I closely observe them, I realize they disgust me. I know, I know, I’m no day at the beach either, but I’m just talking generalities here. I watch them eating and sucking on their fingers, coughing in their hands, sneezing, fingers in nose, ears and eyes. We all do it. Us humans, we’re all little pigs.
I guess what I’m saying is people sicken me, literally. When you get a group of humans together, germs are bound to fly. In a big open area, you at least have a fighting chance of staying healthy, but not when you’re locked up in that little metal tube—you might as well go swimming in a landfill. On a plane, people are practically sitting in your lap. You can smell their perfume, cologne, bad breath, they’re that close. And then, to make matters worse, they start talking to you. And, their faces are so close to yours. I’d say it’s so close you can touch it, but it’s closer than that. It’s so close you could lick it. When someone strikes up a conversation with me, it’s crazy, but I just see germs coming out of their mouth—like little demons, seeking a new home, and that house is me. I usually give out as little information as possible. The more I talk the more it gives an impression that I want to be talking to you. Please don’t take it personally, it’s not you, it’s just your filthy germs.
“So, where you flying to today?” some guy asks me.
“A place,” I mumble.
“You from here?” he inquires.
“No” I quickly spit out with my head down and my arm covering my face.
“I hate these long flights, don’t you?” he continues.
I smile and nod thinking I hate long conversations.
“I wonder if they’ll give us peanuts or pretzels,” he comments.
I shoot a “who knows” shrug like I care while contemplating the possibility that you could give me Typhus.
And so it goes until the stranger realizes I’m not much of a chatty Cathy. Yeah, I know, I sound like a total jerk, but I’m only acting out of fear. Will these same people be there to talk to me while I’m lying in bed, next to a box of tissues slathered in Vic’s vapor rub hating life? Of course not. It was all just a one-sided friendship. I gave you my precious napping or reading time to listen to your stories about your grand kids and you gave me the flu. Look, if I knew you didn’t have germs, I’d be your best friend. We would talk religion, politics, sports, you name it, the whole flight. I’d have no beef with you. But you may very well have microscopic organisms looking to attack me and don’t I have the right to protect myself?
On the other hand, I could be a carrier. I could have thingies swimming around in me looking to attack you. I’m not sure what’s worse, getting sick from you or having to carry the guilt of getting you sick. I’m just trying to protect us both. Yes, I could be cordial and chat with you the whole flight and take the chance of becoming ill, but there’s also the possibility that you may bore me for three hours and that’s just not a risk I’m willing to take. I am now at the point where if someone tries to talk to me on a plane, I’m gonna fake like I’m deaf and make those sign language movements with my hands. I’m sorry, I just can’t take the chance of getting sick from your talkie germs.
I’m even now scared just to sit in the plane seat. Who knows when they were last wiped down. My guess is sometime around… never. For all I know there could be a glob of Ebola stuck on the armrest. Then there’s those food trays. God only knows what lurks on them, maybe some Malawi monkey virus. I’ve thought about dressing up in plastic whenever I travel. I could probably make a nice shirt and pair of pants out of some Hefty bags. I could throw on some thick knitted mittens and a scarf then wear one of those surgical masks that they all wear in the subways of Japan or maybe, just to be safe, try and get an astronaut helmet off E bay. (I doubt “Let It Go” would have one.) Yes, of course I will look utterly stupid going through the terminal while people point and say, “He looks like trash” but I’ll be germ-safe. Nothing will jump on my skin.
After this plane-induced head cold I’m thinking may go on “GoFundMe” and see if I can raise enough money for a private jet. This way nobody gets hurt. Someone attacked me with their germs. No more talk. No more hugs or handshakes for me. I’m down to fist bumps now. It may not feel good on poor grandma’s arthritic fingers, but I feel I have no choice. I’m going to avoid people like the…, well, plague, because they may well have the plague. I knew I should’ve bathed in the hand sanitizing gel when I got home. My bad. Now I’m paying the price for being the nice guy and pretending that I enjoyed the chat on the airplane.
by Jeff Charlebois