“There was one proposal in Sir Rod Eddington’s report to the Treasury with which, when I first read it, I wholeheartedly agreed. He insists that ‘the transport sector, including aviation, should meet its full environmental costs’. Quite right too: every time someone dies as a result of floods in Bangladesh, an airline executive should be dragged out of his office and drowned.”
George Monbiot, in a column on transportation and emissions in the Guardian
I began my Sunday with the 13-mile Solstice Skate (time: 1:11:55). Then I skated 2 miles (uphill!) to my friends’ house, where I framed a piece of their wall. Oh, and I won a gift certificate for $150 off of impossibly expensive skates, which I’m pretty sure I lost on the way up the hill.
Anyway, all that exercise bought me an extra 1200 calories to consume. It’s a little fuzzy, but I think I spent the rest of the day drinking water, eating, and hoping my groin and hip flexors don’t punish me on Monday. They didn’t. Therefore, I’m happy. Plus, I used a saw without losing digits, and discovered the joys of hydraulic tools. It was worth sharing.
I’m 30 years old. I’ve done a lot of things in my life so far. However, until last night, ordering a meal from the counter at KFC (once known as Kentucky Fried Chicken, before Kentucky was deemed uncool) was not one of them.
There’s a really, really good reason for this gap in my gastronomical history: I’m allergic to chicken. All kinds of poultry, actually. Have been since birth. For some weird reason, eggs are okay, but one bite of chicken, as found in the occasional hot dog or soup base, triggers a very nasty chain of events that can best be described as a combination of hives and food poisoning. The sum total of items I can eat on a KFC menu: corn on the cob, biscuits, and mashed potatoes, hold the gravy.
To this day, despite getting years’ worth of medical attention on the subject, I have no clue what the hell causes that reaction. It’s rare enough that I’ve never met anyone who even knows anyone else who’s allergic to poultry. My most recent guess was chicken serum albumin, but eggs have albumin all over, and yet I live. The occasional person suggests trying this or that — free-range, organics, whatever — but I frame the situation thusly: if you find that hitting your hand with a hammer hurts you badly, and you’re unfortunate enough to have done it dozens of times in your life, would you be eager to try a different hammer? No thanks. I have made the decision to steer clear of my particular hammer as long as possible.
Which doesn’t explain why I was actually there. I wanted salmon and chips, so I planned a trip to the local Ivar’s. K asked for Thai food, but I was already making two stops on this particular trip, so a third, with a wait, was not in the cards. Lucky for her, a KFC was next door. So there I was, an allergic babe in the fowl woods, ordering strange chicken parts from a board I’ve never seen before. A kind young woman in a blue visor took my order.
“Can I help you?”
“I need something with two breasts.” Clearly I am not up on KFC double-entendre avoidance protocol. Taking it in stride, my helpful food service agent guided me through my first chicken purchase, coaching me on the nuances of original vs. extra crispy, and the value of the combo meal since I was already ordering mashed potatoes. I walked away proudly with my $7 worth of inedibles, grabbed my salmon, and ran home.
I’m not really sure what the reaction was inside the restaurant when I left, but I suspect there was a brief discussion about what planet I could possibly be from. In any case, the Internet is for sharing weird experiences with people you don’t even know, so here’s hoping your day is as strange as Saturday was for me.
Here’s a sign you have a public health problem: you cancel your week-long national holiday to keep your 1.1 billion people from spreading it around. The Chinese government has also fired its health minister and the mayor of Beijing for letting things get out of control.
Now, I’ve been riding various trains and subways in Tokyo over the last 24 hours, and I’ve seen my share of people wearing masks. I’d guess that 1-3% of the people I’ve seen on the subway have been wearing masks. And while it’s tempting to cough openly in their presence to tweak them a bit, it’s occurring to me that people here have reason to be a little nervous.
I was supposed to have been in Beijing last week, and up until a few days ago, I would still have gone. But with the recent (huge) jumps in the number of reported cases, and news like this, there’s some serious risk to be taken into account. Before I canceled, my flight had been merged with another Air China flight, presumably due to other cancellations for similar reasons as mine.
I’m taking basic precautions in public while I’m here. For one thing, I’m keeping my hands away from my face. Every surface you touch in a subway has had a million hands on it, so this is good advice in any populated area. I also wash my hands before eating, which is easy to do in the restaurants here, where every meal comes with a towelette. Other than that, there’s really not that much one can do, short of the mask treatment. Oh well. At least Japan’s first cases have only started rolling in.