SACRAMENTO, Calif., USA - The sneezing, sniffling, oh-shit-I-feel-like-I-have-a-fever time is raging here in Central California like a wildfire out of control.
At the university, the health center is diagnosing students over the telephone as having swine flu. And while it's normal at this stage of the semester to have a lot of absence, my classrooms are often only half full, with the other half emailing in that they are sick and will take a pass on coming to school that day.
And if they think they are sick, they do have strict orders: Keep thee away from me. A couple of zip codes would be nice.
This entire flu-mania took on special meaning late last week when a Sacramento amiga invited the Admiral and I to come to her house and have dinner. Sure, sounds great, we said. Plans were put into place to bring the ukulele for a little concert for she and her husband and two young children.
Two children. Two young children.
Uh-oh. Children, much younger versions of walking petri dishes of bacteria and viruses that I teach daily. Good kids to be sure, but what illnesses might lurk in that critical three-foot radius around them? And what if I caught a bad cold - or worse - weeks before the Admiral and I are scheduled to make our way south and east, back to coastal Mexico?
We canceled. I think we are still friends.
Someone once told me that you are only paranoid if you think someone is out to get you and they are not.
So I continue to gulp vitamins and minerals twice a day - prescribed by my Canadian amiga Laura - drink enough water to solve the Southern California water shortage, try to sleep a full 8 hours and I hold my breath in the elevators at the University.
Paranoid? No way.