Sick / Little Kids Are Gross


I’m sick and it’s no fun. Managed to drag myself through work this week, and finally succumbed on Friday night. Spent the day sucking on ume (Japanese plum) flavoured Vick’s, sleeping and watching My So-Called Life on the internet. (Didn’t you just love that show? Jordan Catalano was my first serious crush. In comparison to him all the boys in my class were so… well, 11.)

I used to work in a cubicle in an open-plan office. The aircon unit was directly above my cubicle and blew cold air and germs down on my head all winter long. I had a cold from October to April there. I thought that once I escaped that office my general health would improve, but when I was thinking about coming to Japan to teach English I forgot one very important fact –

Little kids are gross.

They rarely wash their hands. They wipe snot on their hands and sleeves, they cough and sneeze on your face, they (true story) flick the dried bits of snot that have collected around their noses at other kids and you. They pick their noses, examine what they get, wipe it on the carpet and then touch the flashcards. I wash my hands between every class and disinfect my hands with alcohol spray whenever I can. I avoid touching my face. Still, I am now sick.

I’m guessing that I caught something from one of the gross little kids. The weather has finally turned here, it’s now actually cold at night, so coughs and colds are moving in. At my school I have kids from two kindergartens, four elementary schools, two junior high schools and three high schools. It’s pretty much a cesspit of germs. The fact that little kids have questionable standards of hygiene and don’t know to cover their mouths when they cough means that the spread of illness is rampant.

I hate that parents send their kids to class when they’re sick. It’s not like a regular school where the kids sit far away from me at desks, we’re all on the floor and they’re coughing right in my face. None of them are even wearing masks!

Ahh, the masks. If you’ve never been to Japan you’re probably wondering what I’m talking about. It’s kind of like a surgical mask, or something your dentist would wear. Paper or cotton, rectangular, elasticated straps around the ears. One day everyone looks normal, and then the next you’re on the train surrounded by Hannibal Lecters. Although, the kids’ ones come with cartoon characters like Hello Kitty or Mickey Mouse, just for added cuteness. Here’s a picture of a girl wearing one.

Although I can see that they’re a good idea, and I probably wouldn’t be sick right now if everyone wore them when they were sick, I still think they look weird. In class, most of the kids are terrible mumblers when speaking English, so the mask just makes a bad problem worse.

So far I’ve only had one child wearing one, and that was weeks ago. I thought she was just an anomaly and that she had some kind of facial deformity or something. I had to just pretend I understood what she was saying. Then the next week she came in maskless, with a perfectly normal looking face, so I just wrote off the mask thing as a glitch in the matrix, something that probably never happened. Now, they’re everywhere but at my school.

Anyway, annoying as it is to be sick at the weekend when I could be doing something fun, I’m glad I don’t have to work. Jumping around the classroom playing tag? I can barely keep my balance anyway, never mind with a temperature.

At least I’m not properly sick. Trying to go to the doctor in Japan is something that I’m not quite ready for just yet.

Back to bed.

(Disclaimer – I don’t actually hate children. I just think that when they’re sick they’re kind of disgusting. You work in an office? Imagine the person next to you refuses to stay in their chair, they’re always climbing on your lap and wiping their snotty nose on your jumper. They come up behind you and then cough right in your face. They never use a tissue. They have dried snot all around their noses, above their mouths and encrusted on their fingers. They want to shake your hand. See what I mean?)

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One Response

  1. […] be “Little Kids Are Gross – Part Two”. I’ve already had a rant about this here, but I need to re-rant. Apologies for […]

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