Friday, November 30, 2007

Please Don't Give Me Your Germs!

Another round of company has come and gone, another round of raffreddore has hit our house. I don't know what it is about taking my family around central Italy, but this is the third time that we've become sick when relations came a'calling! Bryan is threatening to leave my family on the curb next time.

But seriously. I know they are not bringing the germs because none of them have been sick on arrival, but it's still a little strange, don't you think?

It raises an issue, though. We've noted that Italians do not stay home when they are ill. Being a sociable bunch, they don't want to be cooped up inside. They go into the piazza as usual, hack at me when they pass in the street, and - worse - go to work in the bars and restaurants with their drippy noses and caffe-ruining sneezes. Two of our favorite baristas have been seen in such a state, and while they *try* to not cough on the food, well, you know darn well that their hands are at least mildly germy and it's being transferred to us. I've also heard earth-rumbling sneezes emitting from a neighborhood restaurant when I walked by their kitchen door (you can bet I won't be eating there for a while).

"Why don't you stay home and get better?" Bryan asked one such acquaintance involved in food and beverage service. Beh. What am I going to do at home? I'd be bored, he responded. Besides, I don't want to pay someone to come in and run the bar. I feel for them; I realize most bars are a mom-and-pop shop, but still. I really dislike getting sick. Really. Dislike.

So here I am with a crimson nose and mildly-throbbing head, trying to write while feeling foggy. Words don't enter my brain when I want them to. I struggle for cohesive thought. And I keep thinking, I really need to get myself un-addicted to cappuccino. This wouldn't happen if I didn't need my daily fix.

Another thought came up, too. We never caught colds so frequently at home. I think the germs here must be tougher. They've had millennia to adapt and mutate, after all. Our wimpy American immune systems aren't equipped. We lacked the antibodies to resist the different European germs. Or maybe that's just the fog speaking.

I'm off to make a hot toddy. My mom's cure-all for all ailments will surely help break up the congestion if not clear up the fog.


Roam2Rome said...

Ewwww vivid mental image of sneezing baristas over our food! blah!

Hope you feel better soon...

Valerie said...

Roam, Glad I wasn't so foggy that I couldn't paint an accurate word picture for ya! :) I think it's on the wane, but Bryan is still miserable.

Ambra Celeste said...

I think you may be onto something with wimpy american immune systems vs tough european germs. My poor kids were sick the entire first year they were at school here, only getting better when they stopped interracting with so many people on a daily basis during the summer time. Very interesting thought...

I sure hope you start to feel better soon! Don't forget your vitamin C! (Yep, I know, I sound like a mom)

Ciao :)

J.Doe said...

That's pretty gross, about the barista sneezing on food. Does the wear the plastic gloves that people wear when they pick out fruit in the supermarkets? It's wierd how a society of people can be so sanitary conscious and unsanitary at the same time.

Anonymous said...

aww.. I hope you are feeling better. Make a nice big pot of chicken soup :)

Valerie said...

Ambra, poor kids! What kind of vitamin C do you buy? I intensely dislike the effervescent drinks they always want to give me at the farmacia.

J., I didn't mean that they sneezed directly onto the food, but it was definitely while behind the counter and that is not a comforting thought! But it is weird that they are so insanely clean at home and then don't have a second thought about transmitting viruses.

Maryann, I'm getting there, but these mutant germs take hold for a good long time. We've been pumping up with green chile, the best cure we know.