Reflections on the Past
My most recent trip to Beijing did not start out very auspiciously. I spent most of the 4 1/2 hour flight curled up in a fetal position on the plane, suffering from a low grade fever, alternately sweating and shivering. I imagined myself getting pulled aside at the airport and being quarantined. I wondered if I would have to pay any fees if I were quarantined, and thought that given how expensive hotels had gotten in Beijing that it might not be a bad thing to get a free place to stay in the airport, even it if it was to prevent me from transmitting some horrible infectious disease to the masses. In one of the more lucid moments of my haze, I thought about how irresponsible it had been for me to get on the plane with my fever. I had recently finished a book about SARS, that chronicled how the epidemic was spread by unsuspecting but irresponsible travelers who got on their flights despite feeling terrible. I was one of those irresponsible people. I could be responsible for infecting 1.3 billion people. They would trace the vector back to me, I would be the super-transmitter.