I don”t really get sick. I just get allergies. I am not sure what I am allergic to, but once a year I am felled by something that shoots through the air like a sinus-seeking missile and wages war on my face and head. It doesn”t usually last for a long time, and I know many have it much worse, but that doesn”t keep me from traveling a road that goes from a deep-rooted, delusional kind of denial and ends in a cul-de-sac of of self-pity and hypochondriacal self-awareness. It”s the same every year. I start to feel sick, and then I set out to over-do everything to prove that really I am well , that I”m just faking it and I need to stop being lazy. I run errands and clean the house, grocery shop like a mad-woman, make a million plans, start a million projects, decide to dye my hair, paint the shelves and exercise for at least an hour and a half every day. I get out my papers and sit down to grade them – they really are long overdue – but then I remember that I should change the air filter up in the attic before it gets too hot; anything but grading! I continue to ignore an overwhelming fatigue, and listen with amusement as my voice drops an octave. I think I sound sexy, like Marlo Thomas in “That Girl”. Remeber how she squeal-growled “Donald!”?* GRRRRR! (Apparently that show was really influential in my pre-pubescent development and sexuality. Go figure!)
Then, suddenly, the bottom drops out. I realize that I don”t feel well. Even with all of the signs that illness was steadily coming on, this comes as a shocking epiphany. I DON”T FEEL WELL. I go to the drugstore and buy all kinds of products, most of which are are the base ingredients for methamphetamine. Oddly, they don”t relax me. I can”t sleep, I start to cough, my mind begins to float inside my cranium, my skin transforms into burlap – burlap”s real itchy, don”tcha know – and I vow to get rid of cable, because there is absolutely NOTHING worth watching at 4:12 in the morning, so why do I waste my money on this crap? Why do I even have a tv? I need to spend time doing more things that really matter! I need to read, and write and laugh and ride my bike! I never go out! when was the last time I got all dressed up, red lipstick and all, and really tripped the light fantastic? I want to suck the casino online nl marrow, carpe diem and all that! I want to LIVE, dammit, LIVE, but I”m SICK and I may not be well for a long, long time! Oh, woe is me! Can I get a poor baby from the choir? Somebody hep me!
When you are sick and alone, you notice how vulnerable you are. You feel miserable and insignificant, all hollow bones and fevered brow. You smell odd and the taste in your mouth is foreign. Maybe it is fear. One day, I really will be sick, or frail, or old, and I will know that I am mortal, and that this life is a gift. One day, I will be alone and lonely, isolated in my own mind, my own pain, my own delusions. One day I won”t have the luxury of hypochondria.
Today, when I am skipping school because I stayed up all night watching re-runs of “Sex In The City” (why is that show ALWAYS on?), and I have completely lost my voice (which is not as sexy as when I was Marlo, but kind of like a hot Shields – or was the woman Yarnell?), I will enjoy reading my really good book (Amsterdam, by Ian McEwan), listening to my ipod (Bach”s Cello Suites, foll0wed by Okkervil River, followed by Elvis), and eating my really tasty leftovers (Pad Thai and strawberries.) I will sit outside in the sun in my robe and think about what I want to plant in my spring garden. I will take it easy and take time to heal, quietly – about the quiet, I don”t really have a choice, seeing as I have no voice! It is a beautiful day, and allergies be damned, I am going to revel in it. Hell, I may even find the time to grade some papers…but I doubt it. Life”s too short.
*Wow! That”s some excessive punctuation, non?!
P.S. Happy 4th birthday, EAS! The world is better with you in it, and I love you forever!