In the Good Old Days, when a pint of beer cost pennies rather than pounds, people caught colds. No longer. These days, you “get a virus”. I am not sure why this change from “cold” to “virus” has occurred but it seems everyone is at it. “I’m off work with a virus,” they say. Or “There’s a nasty virus going around.”
Colds always did evince a variety of symptoms and no two infections were ever quite the same. Whether use of the word “virus” is somehow intended to explain this variety of symptoms and levels of seriousness, I don’t know. Are there really different “viruses” or are they all the same species, or at least related species, like the flu virus that cunningly changes its coat every so often to fool the immune system?
I am old-fashioned and when I find I have a sore throat, a slight fever and a runny nose, I still say I have a “cold” and have no plans to change this verbal habit which has served me well enough until now.
Be that as it may, Tigger and I both have colds. On Thursday evening we both said we had a dry cough and on Friday morning found we had the classic symptoms of a sore throat and runny nose. In my experience, such synchronicity is rare. Couples usually catch cold serially rather than concurrently, passing the infection back and forth between them like a slow ping-pong match until one is robust enough to shake it off. As Tigger remarked, the problem with both having it is that there isn’t one sick person to be pampered and one well person to do the pampering: both are ill so who will pamper us?
For me, this has added to the shock of Christmas. Christmas always catches me more or less unawares. On Friday I had to write the date on something. I wrote “December 21st 2007”, then did a double take: 21! Christmas is only 4 days away!
I prefer life to pursue an even course, much like sailing down a gentle river perhaps. Events such as Christmas interrupt life, rather like sailing round a bend to find a weir cast across my path. Panic! Throw out the anchor!
Don’t misunderstand. I have nothing against Christmas per se. As I have said elsewhere, any occasion for a party is a good one. The religious nuts can moan and complain but if the rest of us want to relax and over-indulge, we have a perfect right to do so. I intend to relax and over-indulge with the best of them. Despite having a cold.
Last year we spent Christmas in Margate. We stayed in a hotel and found a little cafe that was open over Christmas where we could have breakfast and lunch. This year we are staying at home, enjoying our refurbished flat and, above all, the lovely central heating. We shall travel down to Margate on one or two days to see family, the train fare costing less than a night in the hotel.
Having a cold over Christmas is a nuisance but look on the bright side: we at least have a good excuse to pamper one another so it’s not all bad!