Coughs, Colds And Commerce
With the change in the weather come the coughs, colds and sneezes which are impossible to dodge when you live in a city of 20 million.
The capital’s army of independent vendors are quick to catch on to the pecuniary opportunity afforded by the suffering, adding individual packets of Kleenex – two for the price of one – and “all natural” cough drops to the panoply of wares on offer. No need to go out of your way, as a stream of sellers moves steadily through Metro cars, or winds its way through the traffic stopped at the lights.
As in most other places, there are essentially two schools of thought on how to deal with colds. There’s the “holistic” or “green” school whose members prefer to sweat it out with lemon teas, honeys, and the above mentioned drops. This group is often equated with the political left, satisfying our obsession with labels.
Over on the right is the over-the-counter school, the Hugo Boss squad, whose practical members head straight for the nearest pharmacy at the first sign of a sniffle to stock up on anti-histamines, anti-congestants, and – even though doctors swear until they’re blue in the face that they won’t cure colds – antibiotics.
Unfortunately, the most effective active ingredient of cold and flu medicines was banned last year because certain people were using it to make illegal drugs. Not to worry, say the makers of cold medicines, we have other ingredients that are even better, or we never used pseudoephedrine in the first place.
One nasty habit that manifests itself in times of gripe, or gripa, – whichever you prefer to call it – is spitting in public places, about which the less said the better.