I’m going to Melbourne shortly, mainly to talk to mobs of kids for Children’s Book Week (on which note, I congratulate my fellow writers for their success in the awards, particularly the magic-dusted Sally Murphy). En route I will be wearing a face mask to stave off flu germs, which I’ve been trying to avoid at home by using vast quantities of alcohol gel and coughing-person-avoidance. When I worked at the Department of Health, there was a bird flu epidemic scare, which prompted me to buy a water tank, several 10kg bags of rice and hundreds of cans of foodstuffs (since passed their expiry date, and into landfill. Sorry!). There will almost certainly be a pandemic of some description in the not-so-distant future, for which face masks will doubtless be useless. Nevertheless, my neurosis re germs knows no bounds.
I consider my ability to catch public transport, therefore, to be amongst my greatest achievements. Sure, I may cover my face when people near me cough into the general atmosphere instead of their elbows, and I lather my hands with alcohol gel the minute I get on or off a train, but just getting on with hundreds of other people breathing into the same square metrage I inhabit is commendable. I do, as regular readers will note, enjoy reading over people’s shoulders, which makes up for covering my face with scarves and getting scabby hands from over-washing.
Anyone else have a phobia they’d like to own up to?
And yes, I’m a Virgo. How did you guess?