When I was sick as a kid, I was often left home. Not when I was little, but around the age of ten or so I started to cough and hack solo. My mom would get tons of soda and crackers for me, and I would nibble away and watch tv in the basement. WHich was the cool room, by the way. Fold out couch, wet bar, pingpong table and wall to wall SHAG carpet. It was off the hook.
You see, my mom was a nurse. And I only stayed home if I was truly sick, but not near dying. If you want to cough to death or throw up, you’re not likely to get in trouble, right? She’d come home during her lunch break and check on me, make some soup, and be gone again. And I was trustworthy. Since I was so far gone, it was nice to have the quiet in a house usually filled with 6 family members, a cat and two dogs.
But I miss these gentle gifts of soda and crackers when I’m sick. I felt like crap the other day, and I still ended up washing the dishes…in fact, I got my own comfort food, because I’d have to whine to get it from the hubby, if he remembered. If I really wanted to be pampered, I’d have to write a list and itinerary, and that’s just exhausting in between coughs and dizzy spells. And this really isn’t his fault. I’m just so damned capable.
Once I had the stomach flu, and in between bouts of praying to the porcelain god, I cleaned the bathroom floor. Not kidding. Maybe it was because I wasn’t babied to the nth degree as a kid. I was loved and cared for, but coddling wasn’t our family m.o. I mean, having the chills just means it’s the perfect time to get out in the sun and mow the lawn, right? I’ve seen my dad in pjs and cowboy boots, working with the weed whacker. No virus on this earth can keep my sister from doing the laundry.
I can be completely ill and I’ll still drag my ass into work. Inevitably, I’ll try to pretend that I’m okay. It used to be that I would go in because I didn’t have sick days, and a job that was hourly. So if I didn’t go, I wouldn’t be able to afford kleenex for my sorry self. Now I’ve decided I simply have a hereditary gene for masochism.
First I’ll try putting on foundation, which I never use otherwise, to try and mask my pale face. It only makes me look like a zombie, but my puffy eyes really can’t see that well. Then I put on red lipstick, because such a vivid color has to tone down the red nose, right? I use a bright eyeshadow to offset the purple bags under my eyes, and wear some godawful colored shirt to distract from the disaster that is my face.
Then I lurch into work, and relish answering peoples questions honestly for a change. How are you? Oh, I feel like shit, really. Sick, wish I was dead. Half the time I answer because people ask and keep on walking. Why ask a question if you aren’t going to stick around? How is that more polite? I then go on to tell everyone that i’ve licked every door handle and keyboard. I watch them laugh, and then squirm and look suspiciously at the door knob. It’s the little things that make life better, people.
Then I do my job while thinking very uncharitable things about anyone who makes my day difficult in the least…all while eyeing every surface for a bottle of aspirin like some junkie that needs a fix. I know this. I do. And as much as I’d like to think I’m indispensable, truth is if I died tomorrow at my desk it would take quite a while for anyone to notice, like that lady who was found by the cleaning crew after THREE DAYS of decomposing at her desk. Three days! If I’m going to die a gnarly death, I want it to at least be anywhere else than work. Lord knows I don’t want to be stuck haunting the workplace. Wouldn’t that technically be one of the rings of hell? So this time I decided to play it smart and call in sick. I’ve already gotten 9 emails about things I MUST DO NOW from work. Hell, I’m sitting here typing this up, aren’t I? We’ll see just how long I can hold out before I start reaching for the makeup…