Relinquishing your Rights

August 30, 2013

Although I’m hardly a germaphobe, I still get squeamish when in a confined space with someone who’s coughing. Not because I believe every little germ, virus, and cold is going to kill me, but simply because I hate being sick, to such a degree I hold people accountable for their illnesses. If you’re a parent and you allow your sick child to play with other kids, you are responsible if something is passed on. For adults, while I personally understand most of us would choose to just stay at home with soup and TV when we have the flu, life gets in the way. I get it. You don’t want to be out, but you have to. Nevertheless, others shouldn’t have to suffer because of you. When you’re sick, I happen to believe you give up the right to:

– Fly on an airplane
– Stay in a hostel (dorm rooms, anyway)
– Ride public transportation
– Stand close to anyone, in any situation (even queuing up)
– Go to a theme park (kids; things everyone is touching… really?)
– Couchsurf

However, good news! You maintain the right to:

– Complain as much as you like on Facebook and expect sympathy for your first-world illness
– Stay in a five-star hotel and ride out the fever with room service and sheet changes
– Drive your own car to the ends of the Earth
– Be in public; just be mindful

Arrogant? Expecting too much? Perhaps. I wrote some time ago about being ill in South Korea and received a lot of feedback from teachers who had seen far too many sick kids being sent to class by overbearing mothers who went on to infect the entire student body. While we may not have the choice to do what we will as children, adults should be smarter and more patient than that; if you have the flu and walk out into the world (as good as the fresh air may do you), you know there’s a risk of passing on your suffering. Doesn’t have to be fatal, or even incapacitating. The fact that so many are willing to risk others’ health just so they can save a few bucks, get somewhere on time, or go about their business as though nothing is amiss is just plain stupid… to me. Your thoughts?

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