I’m not sure how fast the SARS bug is spreading, but the meme’s pretty infectious

by Joey deVilla on April 1, 2003

Some SARS-related stories, mostly from Accordion City…

On Saturday, Paul and I took visiting International Man of User Experience Matt “Black Belt” Jones and his friend Andrea to Shanghai Cowgirl, a nice little diner on Queen Street West (their motto — I swear this is true — is “Will that be fried or deep-fried?”). The chalkboard sign outside the restaurant read “100% SARS FREE”.

Andrea mentioned that on Matt’s British Airways flight home, passengers would be asked to wear masks for the duration of the flight. Matt, did everyone werar masks, and if so, did you get a photo of the cabin? I think it would be even cooler than the famous Life magazine photo of the audience at a 3-D movie…

Chinatown is right around the corner from my house (hence its name, Big Trouble In Little China). While walking around this weekend, I saw the occasional person wearing a mask, and at least two stores were selling N95 surgical masks. A couple of news crews were doing interviews at some of my usual haunts, including the Pho Hung Vietnamese noodle shop and Rol San, home of the sizzling Chinese peppercorn beef.

Yesterday on my subway ride home, I was drinking a Diet Coke when the train braked suddenly and I got some down my windpipe. Naturally, I started coughing. I got a couple of concerned looks from nearby passengers, one of whom quickly dove into her purse, got some Kleenex and pressed it over her nose and mouth as a makeshift mask. To anyone who looks even remotely Chinese and has the sniffles or a cough: you officially have the cooties. On the bright side, I’m sure people gladly give me their seat and even some elbow room if I break into a fit of fake coughing.

Here’s a cat in Taichung City, Taiwan that’s been given a mask to protect it from SARS.

Which caption do you think is best?

  • Awwwwww! Wook at the cute wittle kitty!
  • They’ll let anyone into med school these days.
  • You’re gonna need a bigger egg roll wrapper! This one won’t even cover its head!

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