This morning I took Emma in to get a sports physical at the walk-in clinic. The waiting room was full of sick people and I imagined the air thick as honey with bacteria and virus particles. I turned to Em and said "Do not touch anything while we're in here." We've avoided the nasty flu bug all Winter and I was not in the mood to join the ranks of the fallen.
We sat, our hands in our laps, not daring to touch the chair arms or leaf through the inviting magazines on the table. In the center of the waiting area was a large toy for kids — a table with a series of built-in wires crisscrossing the top. Colored wooden beads were strung along the wires for kids to move and play with. As we waited a mother and her toddler walked in. They checked in at the desk then promptly sat down on the floor and the mother began showing the little guy how to make the wooden beads twist and move along the wires.
I cringed to myself, imagining all of the feverish, coughing, spewing people who had touched those beads. I turned to Emma and whispered "Here Jimmy, come play with the flu beads." We started to giggle. The more we tried not to smile or laugh the harder we laughed. Thankfully, Emma was called in to see the physician so we jumped up and followed the nurse down the hall. Afterward, as I drove her back to school, Emma and I laughed about it all over again. Oh dear, I'm so easily amused.