I’ve been sick for the past two weeks and it totally blows. The hacking cough. The raw, runny nose. The uncontrollable chills. I kid you not, my body was actually sore from shaking so much over those first few days. Another interesting side effect of being sick is that I regress to junior high all over again every time I catch a cold. Do you remember being that kid who couldn’t stop coughing in class? Please tell me I wasn’t the only one. Ah, those fond memories of trying desperately to contain it, tears running down your cheeks while pretending everything is cool, your body trembling from the sheer force of the cough relentlessly pushing its way back out… Now I’m doing the same thing at work. Once again, I’m an awkward thirteen year old trying not to get noticed for all the wrong things. Still, everyone at the office can hear me and so they ask the obligatory “How are you feeling?” to which I reply the standard “I’m okay.” Except for the day when I had no voice. Talk about awkward. People have no clue how to interact with you when you can’t communicate verbally. For some reason, they themselves begin to randomly gesture with their hands though they can still speak. Then they suddenly give up, get all flustered and brusquely ask you to just write down whatever it is you’re trying to say. It’s awesome.
And I have no shame in admitting that I’m one of those people who feels like my personal universe is crashing down around me every time I get sick. So I indulge in the self-pity. I come home from work every night, dramatically fling myself onto the couch and immediately begin to moan about how awful I feel. In fact, I get so ridiculously self-indulgent that one night I theatrically fell onto my bathroom floor while brushing my teeth because I couldn’t bear one more moment of standing. Granted, I was legitimately woozy, but it was a tad extreme nonetheless.
Now you know those people who somehow thrive creatively while going through some kind of crisis? I don’t get that. Perhaps you think this rant has just taken a bit of a departure – I had been talking about having a cold, right? Though I realize when lucid that having the sniffles is not the same as being served an eviction notice or having your car stolen, it’s all the same to me when I actually am sick. And while I was on the bathroom floor, it got me to thinking – how do people do it? Beethoven didn’t stop writing music even though he lost his hearing. Michelangelo didn’t quit the Sistine Chapel even though he labored for hours at a time while plaster and paint dripped into his eyes. Tom Cruise didn’t give up acting even though all the prints of All the Right Moves can never be destroyed. (I love that movie.) Me? I get a sore throat and my whole world comes to a screeching halt. I wish I could channel that angst into something creatively stimulating, but the most I’ve been able to accomplish over the last few weeks has been to make sure I shower every day. Adding a new post was not on the agenda.
Needless to say, I’m on the mend now and happy to be functional again. The cough is dying down. The faucet that was my nose is nearly shut off. Yet maybe getting sick isn’t such a bad thing after all. Having a mini pity party every once in a while? Okay. Wanting people to fawn over you because you just don’t feel good? Sure. Realizing once you recover that perhaps life is too short to waste it acting like a damn baby? Bingo.