Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Perchance to dream

You know you stayed up too late the night before when you've started to plan your afternoon nap while you are still making your bed in the morning.

I won't put the bike back in the car like I was going to, I didn't put air in the tires anyway so instead of trying to do that before work, I'll do that later.  If I don't ride the bike I can take a nap at lunch. What I should really do is tape No Reservations and go to bed at ten instead of staying up.  That's a great idea. I like that idea.

I did not nap at lunch, I started a book about the flu epidemic of 1918. It's a real page turner, but I all ready know how it ends SPOILER : Everyone dies. So, I didn't get a nap, mostly because of my book  is so engaging but also because it was really cold and I don't find shivering to be restful although I have heard that freezing to death does make you a little heavy lidded. It wasn't that cold but I forgot to figure out the alarm feature on my phone so I had to learn about mortality rates among troops in the fall of 1918. Answer?  They were really, really shitty, and thousands died.  They had a better chance of surviving in the trenches than they did  at their forts stateside.

If a similar virus came through today and killed  the same ratio of people with the same efficiency it would take more people then die of AIDS, cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer's combined. Tomorrow I'm going to learn about what the preserved bodies of flu victims buried in the permafrost around the arctic circle taught researchers! I find it really interesting. I'm also learning about earlier epidemics, but no solutions. Every few years plagues roll into the population, kill about a third of the population and roll out. No one knows why they start or why they finish other than they have killed everyone not naturally resistant and they run out of tinder. And then everyone is fine and disease resistant until the next time and the next virus.

The 1918 flu was called the Spanish flu because that was were patient zero was when he died. He never left Spain but the virus went on a world tour. It even went to little the environs of Marquette, MI . I read the Marquette paper every day and they have a feature of news stories from 30, 60, 90 years ago and  the 90 years ago entries since the fall have been heavy on notices about canceled events and closed schools and business and warnings about avoiding crowds or  groups. That must have really sucked for them. There is so little to do up there and to have gatherings and meetings suddenly verboten, it must have gotten very lonely, I could go to the picture show or I could not die... the fact that the other stories were about soldiers coming home from the war had to also be worrying - True, they came home but what did they bring with them? Oh Thank God! Welcome Home! Now, go away!

And then it was over and everyone just forgot it ever happened and they never wanted to talk about it again. It was the ultimate Don't Ask Don't Tell. Tens of thousands of orphans, decimated towns, mass graves ... and it all just disappeared into the mists of time.  I'm hoping my book tells me why.

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