|Stock photo of perfectly well|
person pretending to be sick.
Note proper use of tissue.
So everyone on my train is sick but me. Okay, that's not literally true. This is just that OCD feeling one gets when one travels. Every sniffle, sneeze, and cough is a sign of impending plague. I don't want the plague.
To back up a little - I'm on a train because I hate flying. I still fly, as you know, but when traveling up and down the east coast corridor, I make use of the much less terrifying train system. I also make use of trains if my ears are being finicky, since if they are the least bit stuffed they will not pop on flights. I imagine that a lot of people feel that way, and so they will take the train not just because they don't want to fly, but because they are congested and can't fly.
Thus we have the present situation. Constant coughing, sneezing, hacking, etc. People who need to travel but can't fly. People who shouldn't be traveling but think the train is easier so it will be okay. Plus the usual random people who have non-flu related coughs from smoking or asthma or whatever.
It not only brings on feelings of fear, but also of another OCD kind of guilt.
Since I have needle trauma from the past, as well as contamination fears, I have yet to be able to make myself get a flu shot, ever. This is one of those OCD quandries we are all too familiar with. Do the scary thing to avoid the scary thing, maybe? Or just deal with that first scary thing head on? Neither sounds good. Sometimes we choose to do the one, sometimes the other.
I look on vaccination, for example, as a civic duty, and so feel somewhat similarly about the flu shot. Which means I feel like my OCDs are keeping me from doing my social duty. I hate that. But as you know, OCD is a powerful beast. No matter how hard I try, I can't make myself get that flu shot.
So here on am on the train, feeling scared and wondering why people who are that sick are on this train after all. I am a firm believer that sick people should not work or travel. They should rest and get better. But I'm also a realist, so I understand that this isn't always, or even often, possible. Real life is what it is, and sometimes that means not being able to take a break even when we are ill.
Given my lack of flu shot I sort of feel like I don't have a right to gripe about sick travelers, anyway. Then I feel the other way about it, and figure that is a whole 'nuther animal. Maybe they could at least wear those mask things so they don't cough their germs all over amtrak?
Perhaps I just need to learn more compassion and acceptance, for them and for myself. We are all doing the best we can, and my (possibly) getting sick or not is not a comment on them or me, and/or if we are following our civic duty. Sometimes sick just happens.
It would be nice if it happened later ... much later.
Your Hostess With Neuroses
Image credit/info: Girl Health Frame, Photoexpress.