Tuesday, 8 January 2008

London Calling

I would have uploaded this from the bus to London, but couldn't. The wi-fi was down. So here am I filing today's blog from the BBC (and more on that tomorrow):

I'm on the bus right now, going to London to catch the norovirus. When I come back tomorrow, I'll give it to my kids and My Lovely Wife.

Of course, I hope I don't get the norovirus, but if you believe the papers, everyone in England has the norovirus. I was skeptical at first, then I read that my fellow Reuters Fellow Glenda Cooper was struck by it. And one of the people I'm going into London to meet today, Martin Moore, also claimed in his blog to have been laid low by "the flu." Who does he think he's kidding?

The bug, which I know mainly because of the way it runs rampant through passengers on cruise ships, is also called "winter vomiting disease." You've got to like an ailment whose name leaves no doubt as to its symptoms. It's like sleeping sickness or chicken pox. I read, though, that among the norovirus's other symptoms are diarrhea. If diarrhea could be a verb, the malady might have a different name: winter diarrheaing disease.

Which, apropos of nothing, reminds me of the time right after college when my father, brother and I took a road trip from our dad's house on an air base in West Germany to the west coast of France to visit, for reasons too obscure to get into here, the Beneteau boat factory. When we left Deutschland my brother was in the throes of a 24-hour bug of some sort. Trapped as we were in a sealed container--a lime green 7-series BMW--it was only a matter of time before the contagion spread. My father caught it next and as I was the only person who spoke any French--badly--I was dispatched to the pharmacy. My father said his symptoms included diarrhea. Do you have any idea how hard it is to pronounce the French word for "diarrhea"? It involves muscles at the back of the throat that Americans aren't even born with.

And now here I am headed into the norovirus contamination zone: a megalopolis of wheezing, hacking Brits. And did I mention that I'm spending the night tonight in a house with three children under 7, those little infectious agents that rival the anopheles mosquito as brutally efficient vectors of disease? This is like "28 Days Later" or "I Am Legend." My wife expects me to dip my hands in bleach, gargle with naphtha and burn my clothes when I return.

7 comments:

Ruth said...

Just leave your clothes in the rubbish bin before you step over the bleach-soaked threshold. I'll have the naphtha bath and lye soap ready for you. Can't wait til you get home!

Anonymous said...

Joe Gibbs quit today. It is the talk of DC. I'm sure every TV station will make it a top story.

CURIOUS OBSERVER said...

"My wife expects me to dip my hands in bleach, gargle with naphtha and burn my clothes when I return." Ummm,don't think there was any mention of "lye soap" being used...ouch!

Haven't seen the news, yet, today. But knowing that Gibbs "retirement" might be related to last Saturday's loss, do you think he might be encouraged to return next year?

suburbancorrespondent said...

You left out the "why?" Why are you going to London? Is it to test your resistance to the norovirus?

And you call yourself a journalist...

mark from alexandria said...

Regarding the Washington Football Franchise, once again, Dirty Dan, the Football Man is foiled. Regarding the virus, keep us posted on the epidemic. I am due in London in 5 weeks and the thought of spending any of my precious days there doing the double ended spew does not thrill me.

Sally said...

I just returned from a Women's Club meeting and the talk among the Brits was "norovirus"; who had it when and how badly. It was comical overhearing these conversations after reading your column.
I saw "The Lovely Wife" at the meeting. John is in London to LECTURE. Wish I could have heard the lecture! Laughing would have been required and that is a good thing in 2008.

Candadai Tirumalai said...

Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and Joe Gibbs are on the front page of the "Post" today, they for their victory in the Granite State and he for his departure from the Redskins.