Now that we are past Halloween it's just a matter of weeks before the real festivities start ala Thanksgiving and Christmas. In a typical year people would already be planning out their menus, making reservations to attend the countless string of office parties, and anxiously awaiting all the time that will be spent with family members from all over the country. Unfortunately this really isn't what you would call a typical year is it? As sad as it may seem Swine Flu hysteria has taken over the country and even those that didn't give a thought to canceling Halloween are now contemplating alternate means of ringing in the New Year.
According to the New York Times "In offices, churches, hospitals, college dorms and schools — and even at yoga classes and in apple orchards — the fear of swine flu is turning age-old rituals on their head. What used to be O.K. is not anymore, as the flu has ushered in new standards of etiquette that can be, in turns, mundane, absurd and heartbreaking." As the dad of a 3 1/2 year-old and the husband of very pregnant wife, I can say that anytime my family goes out in the public the thought of canceling because of the swine flu enters my mind. I know some will accuse me of overreacting, but as they say better safe than sorry right? Yes it means we may miss the occasional birthday party or church service, but the way I look at it is that since I obviously can't trust others who are sick to stay home than the responsibility falls onto myself to ensure my family is not exposed.
When it comes to the Swine Flu how far is too far? Certainly we shouldn't cancel Thanksgiving and even Santa himself couldn't stop the retail stores from ushering in Christmas. Still though I'm not so sure I won't be doing some extra recognisance work this year before attending the latest round of Greedy Santa. I'll try to make it casual "So who's coming?" and keep myself flexible "As far as I know we will be there". I'll ask questions at the first sign of a cough or sneeze, "Wow that sounds rough. Have you gone to the Dr. yet?". I'll be vigilante "So is your son/daughter feeling better today?" And what happens when the inevitable does happen and we end up sharing the night with somebody who is sick? I'll secretly set the alarm on my phone to go off and fake an emergency.