I am just now getting over what I call "The Grunge." It’s not the flu, it’s something else–a hacking cough that keeps your spouse (and the neighbors) up all night.
It’s going around like wildfire out here (in Los Angeles, we take the word "wildfire" seriously: we have the wildfire season in the fall when the Santa Anas blow, followed by the mud season in the winter, when heavy rain causes the dry land to give way and multi-million dollar homes with (formerly) scenic views slide down the hills onto the highways.
I mainline cough drops whenever I attend a concert, movie or meeting, I keep talking to other people who’ve had this and it’s like nothing any of us have ever experienced before. It lingers on and on.
I even had to postpone a foot operation that I was all "psyched up" for because of this, because you can’t be put under anesthesia when you’ve got a virus. I learned this several years ago, when I was slated to have some kidney stones removed.
I had a cold, and I was lying on a gurney in one of those butt-baring gowns, ready to be wheeled into the OR, when the anesthesiologist came in. He was a big black man and he saw me lying there, coughing and sneezing away, and said, "Go home–Get out of here!"
This time I didn’t even attempt it. I went to the ER and got some "real" meds, since the over-the-counter stuff wasn’t touching it.
So far, the new meds are keeping the hacking under control. I even attended a tea at which two of my favorite authors spoke. I went up to one of them afterwards and reminded her that I’d arranged a luncheon for her when she came to San Antonio about ten years ago.
I was volunteering at an organization that invited authors to town. We held a luncheon at which people paid to hear them speak up close and personal, which paid for their travel expenses, honorarium and the rental of an auditorium at which they spoke for free later that evening.
This is a famous black author. I’d been assigned to make luncheon arrangements before, but San Antonio is a fairly white world, when it comes to literature, and I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to attract enough people.
Then I discovered that the town has FIVE black newspapers, so I put a notice in each one and we got a huge crowd.
She remembered the Mexican food there fondly, then I noticed she was wearing a cast, having broken her ankle. Since I was (at that time) getting ready to wear some sort of a cast myself soon, we commiserated on what it was like to hobble around on a single foot.
San Antonio is a unique town, in that it has 3-way segregation: the blacks live in one part of town, the Mexicans in another, and the whites ("Anglos") in a third. But it’s a military town too, and the military is the most completely integrated society in the world.
The last time we were in our favorite San Antonio B & B, I noticed there was an interracial couple sitting at the table next to us. In years past, you never would have seen something like that, so things are changing there too.
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