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Sick with the flu 0

Dear Bradshaw,

Well, it has happened already, buddy, right at the get-go I’m in the thick of it… as expected. The mother of one of my private students, 10-year-old Alessandro, called to cancel the lesson two weeks ago because Alessandro was sick with the flu. I was pleased because, as you know, in the past, I’ve shown up to lessons and been greeted by a family of sick people. Arriving for the lesson with Alessandro last week, I was nervous. As we do the lesson in his bedroom — the heart of the virus’ realm — I started by asking how long he’d been sick.
“A week,” he answered.

“A week!” I echoed, as it seemed a long time. Most people have been sick with this particular strain for two or three days. Meanwhile, a week could have meant he was still sick and/or contagious.

“Did you go to school today?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said.

(Good news.)

“Did you go to school yesterday?”


(Great news, and enough to ease my worries.)

Halfway through the lesson though, I heard a man speaking to a doctor on the telephone. I was surprised because, except for the nanny, Alessandro and I are always alone in the apartment during the lessons. I’ve met his mom only once, and that was when I arrived for the first lesson.

“Who’s that?” I asked.

“My dad,” Alessandro said. “He didn’t go to work today because he’s sick with the flu.”

Incredible. This flu has been following me like a starving mosquito. Ah well, what could I do about it? At least the dad was in a different room. As long as he stayed there, I’d be okay, hopefully.

At the end of the lesson, however, as I was rising to leave, the dad appeared. He entered Alessandro’s bedroom, and then held out his hand and introduced himself. Social etiquette compelled me to acknowledge the gesture, and after I had shaken his hand, he said, “Don’t worry. It’s not Swine Flu.”

You get that, Shaw? Did you read those words? Because if you didn’t, read them again, please. He said, “It’s not Swine Flu.” Was he kidding? Is he a comedian? It was a joke, right? Apparently, according to him, contaminating someone with a virus that results in vomiting and diarrhea is A-okay. Meanwhile, forcing someone to miss a week of work (which for me means no pay) and stay home feeling like filth, glue and masticated gum is fine as long as it’s not Swine Flu. Jeez, man. He might as well have spit in my eye because for me it amounts to the same thing.

What’s going on in the world, Shaw? I don’t understand. Why do people obey social conventions instead of respect basic hygiene and public sanitation? Oh well, whatever, right? After all, it’s 5pm Sunday = wine time.

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