May 30, 2006

Oprah and the Birds

M came home for dinner tonight and found nothing on the table. What he did find was me glued to the TV, my hands stuffed in my mouth in fear.

"What's going on?" He asked.

"Oprah. Bird flu. Shh."

"Oh no," he said under his breath, and went to put a frozen dinner in the microwave for himself.

Oprah had Dr. Michaal Osterholm, an infectious disease bigwig from the University of Minnesota on her show today and when I saw the ads I said to myself Bethany, don't watch it. DO NOT WATCH IT. Nothing good can come from watching it. Well, you know? Nothing good came from that ice cream I had for dinner either, but that didn't stop me.

M sighed as he sat down. He watched for a few minutes then said:

"Does Oprah realize that 20 million women will not sleep tonight because of her? Including my own wife?"

"Quit heckling," I said, hands still in my mouth. "Let me watch."

A few minutes later he stood up and started pacing.

"We can't control the bird flu! We can't worry about things we can't control!"

She was getting to him. Oprah's good that way.

I was formulating a plan. I would start a stock pile in the basement of all of our favorite foods. I would buy jugs of water every time I went grocery shopping. We'd hide in our house -- riding out the pandemic like you ride out a snow storm -- songs around the gas log, cans of pork and beans, all asleep in sleeping bags on the living room floor.

"You can quit your job and we'll live off our credit cards!" I shouted.

He sighed again. M knows me well enough to already know that I would be furiously planning Plans A, B, and all the way to Z in my head.

"If the global economy collapses," he said, "No one will take our credit cards."

Good point. Mental note: Figure out a way to stockpile some cash.

The truth is I don't know if we'll prepare. This guy today scared the crap out of me, I can say that for sure. But beyond getting a few cans of beans and some water -- is there really anything anyone can do? What about you? Does the bird flu keep you up at night, or do you think it's media hype? Are you doing anything about it?

Yesterday I was at my mom's with the kids. Sass wanted to swing and I stopped her so that my mom could wash some bird poo from the swing first. After she hosed it down, we both looked at the swing for a moment and I know what we both were thinking. Is that enough? Should we disinfect it too? What I finally said was:

"The birds."

"I know," she replied. "I know."

Enough said.


Anonymous Neil said...

I saw that show. It was scary as hell. Meat is bad. Fish has mercury. Now chicken. Maybe we should just eat pizza every night.

May 30, 2006 8:09 PM  
Blogger Margaret said...

I didn't watch Oprah and I'm glad. You worry about bird flu for me, OK? I've got enough drama.

May 30, 2006 8:52 PM  
Blogger Emptyman said...

Daytime television is its own punishment. It's some sort of cultural retribution for watching TV on a weekday afternoon.

May 31, 2006 11:06 AM  
Blogger Vikki said...

I was freaking about bird flu a few weeks ago but my girlfriend (an epidemiologist with the state of MN)reassured me that a lot of things have to happen before it will be transmitted from human to human and only then is there reason for concern. So, as long as she says we're good on the bird flu issue, I'm feeling just fine about it.

May 31, 2006 12:34 PM  
Blogger Lauri said...

yep freaked me out to....

May 31, 2006 6:09 PM  

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