I’ve used this space many times to take a breath and reflect.
This time, it’s just good to be able to breathe.
That’s right. For the whole week surrounding the Fourth, Casa Rochat was officially the House O’ Plague. At times, it felt like a twisted version of Old MacDonald, as we went about with a hack-hack here and a bleah-bleah there … well, you get the idea.
We never did work out if it was the world’s worst cold or a mild to moderate flu. I’ve decided that the main difference, so long as you never wind up in the hospital, is sympathy. You can get this:
Hypothetical co-worker: “So what do you have?”
Self: “I’ve got a really bad cold.”
HCW: “Ah, you wimp, tough it out!”
Or you can get this:
HCW: “So what do you have?”
Self: “We think it’s a really persistent influenza.”
HCW: “Ack! Flu! Get away from me!”
Meanwhile, when you’re dealing with a burning throat, heat flashes, muscle aches, coughs, sneezes and enough dripping mucus to provide sound effects for a dozen Scooby Doo episodes, the last thing you care about is taxonomy.
Still, a week’s worth of enforced rest does make you appreciate the fundamentals.
You learn to appreciate your wife. Especially when she’s violated Spousal Rule No. 17 and gotten sick at the same time as you, to the same degree.
You learn to appreciate sleep, in much the same way that a broke investor appreciates gold. You may not be able to get any, but boy, do you understand its value.
You learn how to use quiet time again. Long books. Mindless stretches on the Net. Periodic bouts with cough drops and throat spray. Anything that distracts you from feeling like an extra in Monty Python’s “Bring out your dead!” scene.
Most of all, perhaps, you appreciate the need to let go and just let things happen.
These days, we’re all about control. Take charge of your life, grab hold of your world, make the existence you want to have. And that’s not a bad thing. Heck, as an epileptic, I can really get into that – being out of control for me isn’t just scary, it’s downright painful.
But we fool ourselves. We make ourselves think we can control everything. And sometimes we do a good job at crafting the illusion.
Right until the next wildfire.
Or the next family illness.
Or the next anything, good or bad, that upsets our plans, blinks our eyes and forces us to say “Where the heck did THAT come from?”
Like supercolds or nagging flu, they don’t last forever. But they can’t be ignored, either. All you can do is make the best of it and ride it out, doing what you can with what you’re given.
Even if all you’re given is some books, some Kleenex and a bottle of Chloraseptic.
Still, everything has its upside. As a wise man once didn’t say: “What doesn’t kill me makes me too bleary to focus on TV political ads.”
You might say my attention flu.