Wrong Kind of Cold

Kage Baker hated cold. And having colds. Upper respiratory tract infections incurred her deep personal hatred, directed with as much specificity as she could summon toward viral particles romping through her own cells.

If there were any truth to the theory of the evil eye, she’d have eliminated entire species of microscopic lifeforms with her scowl alone. Only the fact that she kept catching them – thus illustrating that she hadn’t excoriated them from her cells like Cyclops – convinces me that the evil eye is fictitious; because if anyone could kill with their glare, it would have been Kage.

So she took all sorts of precautions: never went out with wet hair, took Vitamin C and echinacea and zinc, washed her hands a lot. Nothing worked, not chemistry, folk lore or alchemy. Kage caught colds in every season.

And she caught them easily, unfortunately, and usually rode them right into bronchitis. She caught them in the winter, when it made some sense – performing in unheated warehouses in the midst of huge crowds is a great vector system. But she caught them in the summer, as well, and those were, I think, the ones she hated the most. For one thing, you can’t get warm and cozy when it’s 98 degrees outside. Nor are hot toddies any comfort when all you crave are gin and tonics or egg creams.

I rarely catch colds at all. Years pass between my colds. This earned me a lot of weak snarls from Kage, usually as I tucked her in and brought her new boxes of tissue. I’ve got to admit, it’s got to be freaking maddening when you catch colds three times a year despite all manner of precautions, while your idiot sister – who goes barefoot all year – skips blithely along in happy immunity.

But that old wheel turns … I woke up this morning coughing and hacking and trying to catch my running nose. I was apparently glued to my pillow in the night. And when I swallow, there are twin daggers in my ears – the dreaded sign that infection has invaded my Eustachian tube and I, yes, have a damned cold.

Kimberly says its because I left the state last week – the foreign shores of Washington have infected me. Or maybe it’s a psychosomatic reaction to the start of the school year. If it has anything to do with school, I think it’s because Kim spends her days with 23 little plague mice and brings home who knows what exotic pathogens … all I know is, I feel like road kill. And it’s unfair. And I am most disinclined to be polite about it.

Oh, well. If I’m not running around, then I have more time to write. Right? There am I happy, as that fool Father Lawrence says … excuse me, Dear Readers, as I now go off and gargle some soup.

About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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3 Responses to Wrong Kind of Cold

  1. johnbrownson says:

    Home made chicken soup, with lots of garlic, dear. Read. Sleep. Feel better, soon.


    • Kate says:

      Oooh. Chicken soup with garlic … and angiolotti pasta, and scallions, and a dash of sherry … Oh, what a good idea, Buffalo!

      Kathleen kbco.wordpress.com


  2. Margaret says:

    I’d blame it on the airline. Despite what they say about oooh-how-filtered their infinitely recycled air is, I usually get a cold within two days of getting off an airplane, even if I start taking zinc lozenges well before I board. “Have a lovely vacation and here’s your complementary upper-respiratory infection” should be motto for all airlines.


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