A colleague recently told me she’d prefer to get Covid from a friend than a stranger, that it would feel somehow more trustworthy. Now that’s next level. Curated Covid. The bespoke experience.
Despite being mega-vaxxed, I still feel vulnerable. Every day that goes by when the kids return home bouncy and well gives me a little jolt of relief. For all my experiences with the world’s smorgasbord of pathogens, I would still really like to not get Covid. The normal ones flatten me enough as is.
Covid normal makes me nostalgic for the simpler times of the known viruses. The times my partner and I would get the same early childhood bug, presenting with wildly different symptoms. How intriguing! So much to contemplate when bedridden, deep in a fever dream.
Such as, why are there so many bugs that attack children and not adults. Where does scarlet fever hide in the population? What is ‘croup’? Bronchiolitis? Mumps? Rubella? Whooping cough?
Friends boast of their mementoes from overseas travel in the Before Times. Giardia, malaria, tropical ulcers, chikungunya. Nothing so exotic for me – yet. Perhaps that’s a hidden perk to climate change. If I just stay put in Melbourne, the world’s tropical viruses and parasites will hitchhike right to my door.
Buruli ulcer, originally from West Africa and now carried by a possum near you. Japanese encephalitis along the Murray. What a time to be alive! Mind you, I heard redback spiders have made it to Japan and made themselves at home as unwelcome guests.
This is, I guess, the penalty we pay for daring to be multicellular organisms. Each of us is just bursting with ripe little cells, ready for a virus to hijack and convert into little virus factories, pumping out a few billion mates who can make a few trillion more. It’s like a rowdy party in an Airbnb – the cleanup is always left for someone else.
Being bogged down in viral or bacterial lassitude can get tedious. Sometimes, when afflicted with the purest strain of man-flu I can acquire, I get a little vicious. I dial up a few gifs of white blood cells tracking parasites and bacteria. Watch them squirm away!
Watch these little human hunter-killer drones pursue, corner and kill the invader. They have one job: to kill, and kill, and kill again, in the interests of protecting all of me. My faithful defenders, my soldiers, my protectors.
Is this weird? Passive-aggressive? Probably. But still, in our divided age, isn’t there something honest and true about organisms we can all hate together?
I even have a little chant once I’m upright and victorious: Viruses and bacteria / Ya can’t get near enough. You tried to squeeze me tight / but you got eaten by my lymphocytes.
Of course, taunting the invisible universe of microbes just makes them angrier. It won’t be long until I’m laid out. I just hope my Covid tests keep coming up Novid, as long as humanly possible.