The Catch

I don’t mean to blow my own trumpet but I’m pretty darn good at catching things. If Nigeria promoted Baseball I could have been playing in the major leagues by now. On this recent trip alone I caught four flights: Lagos to Dubai, Dubai to London, London to Dubai, and Dubai to Lagos. Some days before the last flight, I caught a train back to my hotel and savouring the neo-modern metro stations was a pleasant experience…but sadly that was an experience short-lived.

I happened to stand next to a passenger who must have been one of the most generous men I’ve ever met. No, he wasn’t giving away Dirham or free travel cards. He was generous with germs – He coughed several times into the air without covering his mouth and I must have inhaled despite all my nasal dodge tactics – but I was a black belt in catching things, remember?. The next day I woke up and realized I had caught a double whammy of Cold and Cough. The icing on the cake was a nasty headache which lasted two days including my 7-hour trip back to Lagos.

Maybe it’s just as well I was flying with my favourite airline, Emirates, because other than my poorly state I had nothing to complain about – everything was perfect; the food, drink, service, and all the in-flight entertainment you could enjoy at over 30,000 feet. As my regular double JD and coke wasn’t working its usual magic I decided to blend into my ailing mood and watch one of Emirate’s recommended movies – Contagion. I’m tempted at this point to include a spoiler on this movie so if you haven’t watched it yet then look away now (…and jump to the next paragraph before you’re caught off guard). **********The scene where an infected shopper in a supermarket coughs into the face of Matt Damon was a subtle touch of déjà vu for me. I also saw how the simple act of not washing one’s hands could start an epidemic – it always starts with one person. The movie was so well-directed that I almost felt I could catch the notorious virus from just watching it – well if you sat next to me you would probably think I did.

After the movie I subjected myself to a post-Contagion surprise test, in which I failed miserably. The passenger sitting next to me had just finished her dinner and asked the airhost for another mini-chocolate bar. The air host had none to offer at the time but I was looking at mine which was unopened. I picked it up and offered it to the chocoholic – a gesture worthy of a gentleman, right? WRONG. She politely refused and then I thought to myself, ‘Did she or did she not want more chocolate?’ And then I thought, ‘Maybe she realized this offer was coming from a diseased passenger?’ ‘Maybe she was also watching Contagion or had watched it recently?’ She was later awakened by the same air host who suddenly offered her another piece of chocolate. Perhaps she suspected he had picked it from one of the cleared passenger trays and so again she refused. Yep…she definitely watched Contagion.

With the cabin pressure now affecting my eardrums I was suddenly at my wits’ end. It was almost as if everything around me had an ‘ill’ theme to it. I must have been going delusional. I was hearing things. Beyonce’s hit single now sounded like The best cure I never had, Rhianna’s hit was aptly titled Man Down, and Neyo’s So Sick hit the nail on the head. I even tried to amuse myself by holding my own award show. Some of the ‘lucky’ passengers won my imaginary awards for: Most Toilet Visits; Most Talkative; Most Camera-happy; and Most Finicky (I’m sure you know who that one was).

Eventually the pilot caught my attention when he announced our gradual decent into Lagos. From the boiling Immigration area to the chaotic Baggage Claim section my brain still felt like it was being compressed between a rusty vice…very, very slowly. It wasn’t until I took 2 tablets of Advil and had 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep on my comfortable flat pillow and orthopaedic mattress that I felt as right as rain. It’s good to be back and back to normal…or crazy as the case may be. Here’s hoping you catch the Crazy Nigerian bug, Cheers!


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