I had to fly yesterday on business, and the dire warnings about a new, more virulent outbreak of H1N1 certainly make air travel more exciting. Any time you are in an enclosed area with a bunch of people you are bound to hear a certain number of coughs, sneezes, and sniffles, and if you are paranoid you wonder whether any public surface you touch — like the armrest on a chair in an airport waiting lounge — has just been exposed to the drippings from a kid’s runny nose.
Most Americans seem to ignore health warnings, or at least don’t let them affect their everyday lives. I don’t know whether many Americans are taking H1N1 more seriously, but on the plane yesterday I did see an older woman wearing one of those white masks. She may have been trying to avoid infecting people or trying to avoid being infected. In any case, it was an unusual, and somewhat unnerving, sight to see.