Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Having the Flu's in Style? We'll Pass

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Having the Flu's in Style? We'll Pass

Article excerpt

THE NEW YORK Times Magazine has declared the flu to be in style.

This is a good thing for us fashion-conscious sickies. In fact, let me breathe a labored sigh of - whew.

For the past four weeks or so, I had been worried that people found it disgusting when I started hacking and leaving little piles of tissues in m y wake. The Times does not answer all questions, though. It's OK, the 'zine reassures, to lounge in your Calvin Klein sheets and eat gourmet chicken soup. So what about swaddling oneself in every available pilly afghan and nodding off in the middle of conversations? This question remains, a half-formed little cartoon balloon over my head as I conk out on the couch. Is it OK, I wonder aloud to the fashion gods - after a nap - to lose a month's worth of one's social life, devoting weekends, instead, to sleeping? The benefit is the lack of guilt felt when too exhausted to return phone calls from family and friends. The rhythm of sickness is this: In the beginning, admit nothing. Yes. My colleagues who sit inches away from me are quite ill, but I will not be caught. In the superstitious belief that if you ignore it, it will go away, ward off the Wuhan flu this way: Keep all appointments, attend weddings, take planned trips to New York, and, of course, continue to work. Gradually, tell-tale signs form. Interviewing candidates on election night with a notebook in one hand, pen and soggy tissue in the other. (A lesson in coordination: Wiping your nose without writing on your face.) Get choked up when candidates concede and their supporters' banners droop with the sadness of unrealized political ambition. (For the normally stout of heart, tears are always a clear sign that all is not right. In 10th grade, I found myself sobbing during a Michael Dukakis gubernatorial concession speech. …

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