Sunday, November 2, 2008

Fanfare for the common cold

I'm nostalgic for the days when getting sick wasn't such a big deal, when I didn't feel the need to avoid contagious people. My philosophy was, if everybody's getting it, then staying away from one or two culprits isn't going to help me. I'll get it or I won't. And if I do, I'll survive.

Those days are gone, for two reasons. First, I spend a lot of time with The Guy Who Inspired "Everybody Knows About Me." (I promise we'll think of a good alias for him soon. It's getting awkward to keep referring to him as The Guy Who Inspired "Everybody Knows About Me.") He has myalgic encephalomyelitis and, as a result, a highly compromised immune system. If he catches my cold, it will be severe, and it will last for months.

Second, I sing, sometimes in front of people. When my throat is gunked up and possibly inflamed, I can't do this very well.

So my attitude has done a complete 180. Now I ask coworkers if they're coming down with something every time they sneeze. I wash my hands constantly when I suspect someone contagious might be touching things I'm touching. I freak out when I start to get the sniffles. In short, I've become annoying.

And the worst part? None of my precautions matter. Our gig today, another airport performance, was cancelled due to illness -- mine. I caught the cold that's been going around, and everyone involved decided it would be best to reschedule. I'm still capable of singing, mind you, but the results aren't anything you'd want to hear, much less pay for.

How do professional rock-'n'-rollers deal with this? If you're KT Tunstall or Elton John, you have to cancel if you have, say, laryngitis, but you can't bow out every time you get a little bug.


Anonymous said...

The pros also have folks that know every trick to make you sound better for now, including the sound board guys.

Kind of like the difference between a normal person and Britney Spears wanting to lose "that last" 10 pounds.

cinderkeys said...

True. Of course, it depends who you are. If you're the Indigo Girls, fans might wonder what's up when you sound more synthetic due to singing through the whatchamahoosits that fixes pitch. If you're Britney Spears, you're lip-synching anyway and it doesn't matter. :)

DeppityBob said...

What do you mean, "become" annoying?