It’s that time again. Cold season in law school. People are getting sick, and classrooms are getting disgusting.
My first year of law school it seemed as if no one skipped class for anything. You could have the flu, be contagious, get hit by a campus bus on your way out of the health center, and still show up to class. My second year, we’ve maxed out on absences halfway through the semester because of things like “mental health Monday” and “I had a crappy morning Wednesday.” Yet, we still show up when we’re sick: coughing, sneezing, hacking, and mouth-breathing auditory assaulters.
Invariably there are at least two people in much more severe stages of illness than the rest of the Emergen-C dependent, Kleenex-clutching class.
One of these people will sound as if he has tuberculosis, pertussis, or a lifetime of exposure to coal dust. Last year I checked my vaccination records as a direct result of some of the emissions of my phlegm-laden classmates. (learned: most infants do get vaccinated for pertussis, no vaccine for TB though). This person will usually punctuate a lecture with some terrifying and strangled forced exhalation, generally right at the moment the professor is dispensing some vital piece of information. One of my classmate’s actually brought cough drops to each of our final exams in an effort to quiet this distraction. Fruitless.
The other of these people will sound like he is auditioning for Lead Chair in the Nose Trumpet section of the Band of Repulsive Body Noises. This human being will blow his nose constantly throughout class. There will be nothing even remotely discrete about this. We aren’t talking about a Mr. Sniffles. I don’t mean “I have so much snot in my nose I absolutely have to blow it before it starts dripping” or “I just sneezed and now it’s everywhere, sorry about the clean up in aisle five.” We are talking about excessive, inappropriate, and completely gross nasal behavior that may perhaps be resolved by breaking his nose. Maybe.
These two have no regard for their classmates or how their behavior affects anyone else. The home and educational environments they were raised in either didn’t account for consideration of others, or they’ve chosen to disregard such a concept. Either way, there’s no getting rid of them. And unfortunately, there’s no ignoring them either.
Best of luck getting through the season without getting infected.
And if you’re sick, stay home.