I like insect porn.
Nah I’m only joking, I have the flu. Or something. Does anyone even know the difference between the flu and a cold?
I mean obviously some people do, but most of the time I find that when I’m feeling a bit sniffly, I call it a cold. When I’m disgusting and in tatters, it’s a flu. I don’t know if everyone else does this but it seems like that’s the way we distinguish one from the other, and it’s obviously wrong because the flu is a virus.. oh wait, I decided to take a google break and research that shit. So actually both are viruses, I feel stupid now. I always thought a cold was what happened to people who went around with no slippers on or who didn’t dry their hair properly, this is what my mother always told me. SO YOU ARE WRONG MOTHER. I suppose going around in inadequate clothing and having wet hair is probably going to lower your defences but it doesn’t cause a cold perse, so in your FACE mum!
Anyway I checked myself against this chart http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A1032102
And I have a cold. I’m a little disappointed because I feel like flu sounds stronger and more debilitating, but my body’s producing snot like fucking Hello Kitty merchandise, and apparently that’s the dominion of the cold virus alone.
Motherfucker I feel shitty.
Today I have a 10 hour shift again, this time on my own, and I am bracing myself for the most unproductive, painful day ever. I don’t know which is worse- this, or being hung over. No, being hung over is worse. This cold is not making me feel guilty at all.
In fact, having a cold is like a remover of guilt.
While I’m sick, I will do exactly the same shit as I always do. I will be borderline hostile and unhelpful with customers. I will eat in bed when I get home. I will watch movies and play oblivion. I will not clean my house. I will not pay those fucking bills that are overdue.
But I don’t feel bad about it now, because I’m sick, you can’t expect me to do shit when I’m sick, can you?
Forget about the rest of the time, this is my moment to revel in my awful behaviour.
There is something missing of course from the experience of sickness. As an adult, it’s not the same.
When I was a lazy little child, I used to love nothing more than a tickly throat or swollen glands. It meant dragging the duvet out into the living room. setting up camp on the couch- I wasn’t normaly allowed the duvet on the couch, but it was the best thing ever. It was so comfy and enveloping. I would have, like three pillows with me, when in usual sleeping arrangements I was only allowed one. My mother had some definite idea about things like that. She also refused to buy me a game console because games were bad for you. Why couldn’t we play something nice, with little characters running around picking flowers for each other or helping out around the house? Why was it all killing and stealing? Anyway the joke’s on her because I got a pc instead, and eventually I got emulators for ALL THE CONSOLES. Mwah ha ha. I never played outside again, and I have the pasty face to prove it.
Anyway I’d nestle into my comfort area and make feeble demands. My mother is the sort of mother who will buy any bullshit fake sickness, but you have to SOUND sick. I had to keep this weak, croaky fake voice on all day or she would diagnose me ALL BETTER. Then fun’s over. Get that duvet back to your room. Call your friend, see if there’s homework you can catch up on.
If I wanted a full day of sick treatment, and homemade vegetable soup with crusty bread and mountains of glorious butter, and hot lemon and honey to drink and vhs of Seinfeld taped off the telly, then I had to put on a real production.
It was so worth it, but it was extremely tiring.
It would begin thusly: I would wake up, all warm and snug in my bed. I would run through the extreme misery of getting up, getting dressed into my horrible polyester Catholic school uniform (guys, the skirt was very very long, nothing sexy there) pressed against the radiator because it was so fucking cold in my house. Then I would stare at a bowl of cereal of my choosing, and feel nauseous. I have never been hungry in the mornings. I need to be awake at least an hour before I can eat. My mother would give out to me saying “You PICKED cheerios, I thought you LIKED them!” and I would be like, yeah but only because you gave me a choice between Cheerios and some other bullshit without any chocolate. I would happily eat coco pops. I would. But no.
Anyway, after this I would be driven to the bus stop which was a good stomp away from the house. I was supposed to walk to the bus but I usually didn’t because I dragged my heels until I would be too late and I’d have to get a lift. Then the horrible bus with fat Susan, my only young neighbour so I couldn’t get rid of her… who was sweet but incredibly thick. She always had these stories she would huff out at me, unable to express even the simplest of concepts in her own words. It was all… ummm you know her… what yesterday… you know they did all the numbers… her who… you know your one who was in, you know you’re one who got in?” And this meant, in Susan- speak, “They counted the votes last night, and a new president was elected.” And it was exhausting. She also called giraffes “giraffe-ts” and hospital “hopsital”. She wasn’t properly special, she just lived with her mother and aunt and grandparents who were all equally fat and thick. She works in a factory now, I think. One time I went home to see my mum and she told me the local gossip: the mother and aunt of Susan had killed their father over a Yorkie bar. Apparently the two she- Huts used to beat the shit out of their dad, and this once it was over a Yorkie bar he wouldn’t share or had eaten or something, and they beat him up but he died of his injuries. And they couldn’t get his life insurance money because the death was suspicious with all the bruising. I don’t guarantee this is a true story, but it is probably the best local gossip story my mother has ever bored me with, so there it is.
So I would lie in bed on a winter morning and think over all these awful experiences lying ahead of me, day after day. My awful teachers. My obnoxious peers and friends who weren’t in the same classes as me because I was CLEVER so I had to be in the nerd class with all the horrible nerds who were definitely not smarter than my friends- they were just goody two shoes teachers pets who had no games consoles either so they did lots of school work.
And I would think, when was the last time I was off sick? Hmm… months? Ok… it’s about time I had a “me” day.
I would sneak out of my room, hug the radiator and press my forehead against it until I had a believable fever. I would rub and rub at my eyes until they were puffy. I would do little croaky voice excercises. And I’d think HOT thoughts so I could maintain the temperature on my forehead until my mother came by. I would wait until I heard her stirring in the other room, and I would dash back to bed.
She would come in and I’d be all groggy. “Muuummm… I don’t feeeeeel weeeeeell” and she would be like, yeah right, you just don’t want to go to school.
And I’d lay it on thick.
“No… I’m ok… I don’t need to stay home, just… I feel really warm, can you get me some water? I’ll be fine..”
And the mothering instinct would kick in. DIDNT JUST ASK TO STAY HOME? HMM! Maybe she IS sick!
And she’d check my temperature. “Oh god you are really warm, let me get the thermometer.” So I’d sweatbox myself under the covers until she got back, and breathe condensation onto my hands and clammy up my forehead. She’d take my temperature and sure enough, I’d have a mild fever. But that wasn’t enough. I had to do the sick voice. I had to sit up and get the spins and pretend to feel cold every now and then even though I was very hot. I had to drink the teas and take the cough syrup from the healthy store that tasted like rust and mumbo jumbo, even though I didn’t have a cough.
I would maintain my intention to go to school of course, just after I felt a little better. My mum would believe me now, so she would decide to make soup. My mum makes amazing soup. It’s the only way she could make me eat vegetables as a child. I hated vegetables, but loved soup. Anyway soon she was making soup, and I heard her joyfully clattering around the kitchen, deliriously happy as a mother to have a sick but not too sick child to care for. This was her calling. She’s a fabulous mother but nowadays all the mothering she gets to do is when I drink too much and then she cleans up my puke, which is incredibly rare but it’s the most amazing feeling in the world, being an adult and having someone clean up your puke for you. I miss my mum.
Anyway once she was making soup, I could relax. I wasn’t going to school, I was getting better dammit, I needed my vegetables and my vitamin c. And all I had to do was maintain red puffy eyes and a croaky voice for the rest of the day. Then I was allowed gradually perk up in the evening. But not too much, or my mum was ready to suspect foul play. Then my stepdad would come home from work, and he never believed me for a second. But he didn’t really say anything, he’d just watch my mother radiant with caring, with a bemused look on his face. He just motivated me to bring it down a notch, lose the flourishes and make my performance more subtle.
And the only problem with my sick days, was the fact that sometimes I would actually get sick the week after. And then I would be treated with great suspicion. I would have to add the fake sick effects to my real illness, or no one would believe me. So every time I was sick, I had to expend all this effort making it the most impressive cold ever, and if I happened to get a temperature without a sore throat, I’d have to croak anyway.
But effort and deceipt aside, I miss my sick days.
It was really nice for me. I had the tv and all the special nice food I could want. My mum was super nice to me. All those hours in school, they were worth so much more at home. I loved being at home. And then sometimes I would request something exotic, boldly taking advantage of my patient status. I would ask for blackcurrant flavoured panadol cold and flu medicine, or mango and pineapple juice. Or books from the library to fill those few hours where all the tv offered were dopey female chat shows and Barney. And my mum would drive me around town with my duvet in the back seat. And I’d watch all the emptyness of the town without the uniformed teens, and the quietness and I’d amaze at all the people who had these hours to themselves every day, like housewives and the self employed and the unemployed. I was hugely jealous. I wanted to be an adult and watch tv all day and play computer games and eat soup with lots of buttery bread.
And now I’m an adult and I work school hours ever day, plus Friday and Saturday double shifts. Then I have one month instead of three for my holidays, I work double all through Christmas, and no one makes me soup, I have to make my own. (I make awesome soup just like my mum) And worst of all, when I’m sick, I can’t just stay home. I’m sick today but if I don’t come in here and sneeze on the customers, the shop will be shut. In an emergency, like I’m REALLY sick, I can pull a sickie and someone will be drafted in to replace me. But I have to save those times up for when I’m REALLY sick. It also costs me money to be sick. I have to buy my medicine and it’s expensive. I can’t just give in to the bug and lie at home all happy and lethargic. I have to stand here like a snotty totem pole and dispense groggy pleasantries to customers in a real sick voice. I wish my mother was here to touch my forehead and tell me I don’t have to go to school.
I work for my dad, but I would need green costume makeup and big X’s in place of my eyes like a manga character for him to notice I was too sick to work.
He doesn’t have the same instinct as a mother. He thinks when you’re sick you should sleep, and he’s probably right but then what’s the point? Miss out on all those free hours? No way.
I’m starting to formulate a plan, like maybe I’m too sick for working tomorrow. But I don’t have the same zeal for planning my sickies like I used to. I’m grown up now. I don’t even have to put on a voice any more or rub my eyes, I just tell an adult I am sick and they believe me. It’s insanely easy. But I don’t, because I feel all guilty about having to haul a replacement in last minute, and then what if I get really really sick soon? Urgh feel shitty. Want to go home. Can’t. Stupid adulthood.
I miss my mum.
I had a boyfriend for a year who I treated kind of like crap, and he was kind to me when I felt sick. One time I took these hallucinogenic seeds with my flatmates, and I had a really awful reaction and I lay by the electric fire in a sleeping bag with a duvet on, shivering with my teeth chattering, too weak to move… I tried to get to bed by crawling in my blankets like a worm across the floor. My flatmates thought I was being comical, because fair enough it’s the sort of thing I’d do if there was maybe a lull in conversation… they laughed but I had razor blades in my head and my arms wouldn’t work or my legs. I had to buckle my mid section up and down, and slowly painfully I moved towards the door… then I got the door open with my mouth, I think. I made it to my bedroom and couldn’t get that door open. I called my flatmates and one of them (the nice one I don’t hate with a passion) brought me my phone and stopped laughing when he saw how distraught I was. I called my boyfriend and made him walk from his house to my apartment, pick up various things I needed to feel better, and come take care of me.
He walked to my house even though this was our night of sensible people not spending too much time together and he was playing Rome: Total War. We tried to play Age of Empires together but he was too shit at that and I thought Total War was crap, so we played alone. I liked this arrangement really because, I don’t like having some dude all up in my grill all the time. I like sex and cuddling, but I really really like when they gtfo of my house and I can stew in my own filth and stop pretending to have any interests in life other than laughing at shit and lying down, eating.
He came to look after me and I ordered him around. I asked for cheese, imagining happily how great it would be when he brought me little cubes of cheddar like my mother used to make. Maybe with cocktail sticks, but I didn’t care. Cheese was going to be exactly the right thing for me, it was going to make me feel whole again.
He brought me cheese- the whole block, cut into…. gasp…. SLICES. I burst out crying and flung the cheese away, quivering in disappointment. NOT LIKE THAAAAAAT! I wailed. I WAN…WAN…WANTED CUBES!
And I cried and this poor guy, wow he put up with me for a whole year. I think if he had been more of an asshole like my husband, I might not have stomped all over him. He took too much crap from me. I think if he saw what kind of doormat husband made me, he wouldn’t believe it.
I was the megabitch.
Oh man, that would be the BEST movie to watch today all sick and home and warm and comfy. Drop dead Fred.
Damn it I wanna go home. My dad just called to ask about what we need in the shop and I sniffled and sneezed and no dice, I’d have to outright ASK for the day off, and it’s too last minute. I’d look like an amateur asking to go home because I’m sick. Ah well. I’m resigning myself to just getting on with it, sit down on the stairs for a while and look forward to 3pm when I can fuck off for half an hour and get some cold medicine and some unhealthy food because you can’t get healthy food for lunch here unless you eat lunch at 1pm because that’s lunch time and I get a stupid lunch at 3 or 3.30. Anyway I have talked about being sick for a long time now it was not my intention but I’m bored and lonely at work and feel sorry for myself.