Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I'm Not Dead Yet...

...but it's not for lack of wishing over the last several days. I've been down and out with whatever hideous illness Kate's had, wishing for death or something equally dramatic so I could stop going to work and feeling like a zombie. I even began to talk of going to the doctor. When one does not have health insurance or any knowledge of one's friendly neighborhood health professionals, this can be an adventure, and is not done lightly. However, I woke up yesterday feeling remotely human again and rather less like a zombie. I'm sure Jim is especially thankful for this, as I am not exactly one to suffer silently. I still don't feel what I would consider anywhere near "good," but I don't long for death or the invention of better cold drugs any more. I also missed Dad's birthday cake and ice cream Sunday night because I was in no kind of shape to travel back home. He and Momolla and Jim and I have a date on Saturday, though, so that will be nice.

There has been some knitting, while I have been wallowing in misery. Nothing complicated, mind you, because I have also been drinking NyQuil straight from the bottle as soon as I made it home from work. I've discovered the hard way that I get over being sick much faster if I just give my body rest and sleep, so if I wasn't at work the past week, I was in bed, drinking some juice or another. And man, I ate a lot of chicken soup. I defrosted some of the frozen soup from my last cold, I ate lots of the canned stuff, I had Jim cook me noodles in broth and call that soup. I had tons of it. The local chicken population may never recover. I have had about as much hot tea as the average British household consumes in a month, and I have gone through a gallon or three of various fruit juices. My theory is that my body was in need of fluid because all moisture in said body was being turned into mucus or other gross things. But the bottom line is, I feel better. See, Mom? I can be taught! (mom used to try to make me stay home from school when i was sick. note the use of the word try. i seemed to think that if i just exhausted myself more, the sickness would go away faster. no, it didn't work. but it seemed like such a good idea at the time) I forget who it was that said a pregnant woman is never alone in her pregnancy, that everyone has advice and stories and such. Well, a sick person is also never alone. Everyone told me about a favorite cold medication, and most had stories of illness to share. One especially comforting customer told me that I had to watch that cough, as the death toll from the flu has risen to thirty-three this winter. Sweet, no? And several people gave me cough drops.

I've been reading blogs the past week, but I haven't really been coherent enough to understand what I was reading, so I will be back to leave some comments and catch myself back up on everyones' lives. Once I find my camera, I will show you the dishcloth I made (grandmother's favorite pattern, which i found on bells' blog) and the dish towel I am working on(my own pattern, with lots of garter stitch). When the bribe sock is completed soon, I will show you what they both look like as a happy pair. At the rate I knit, that should be sometime around August.

I spend a lot of time and energy talking about how horrid my job is, and how much it frustrates me. I thought, in the sake of fairness, I'd share an amusing little interlude from about a week ago. Mostly, my job is to make people who are unhappy because their cars are broken into people who are happy because their cars aren't broken any more. This is usually a pretty prosaic, matter-of-fact thing, but sometimes, there's a little drama. Sometimes, you get to live in your very own daytime tv drama, like this instance. I spoke to a woman who was having car troubles.

Woman with Car Troubles: My car, my car has a problem, I think it's the battery. Can you fix it? Please? I need my car tomorrow.

Me: What has the car been doing?

WwCT: (distraught) I was driving and the lights dimmed and my radio turned off and I came right here for help. I didn't know what else to do!

Me: (calm and authoritative) Well, that doesn't sound like a battery problem, but we'll definitely run a diagnostic on the car and let you know what's causing this issue.

Woman with Car Trouble's Strange Daughter: (stage whisper, directed to mother) can you ask the lady if they have a bathroom?

WwCT: You ask the lady.

WwCTSD: (stage whisper, to me) do you have a bathroom?

Me: (stage whisper --it seemed appropriate) we do, it's right back this way. Follow me

WwCT, while Strange Daughter is in restroom: So, what do you think is wrong with my car? Tell it to me straight, I can take it.

Me: Well, from what I've heard, it doesn't seem to be your battery, but rather, (dramatic pause) your alternator.

meaningful music plays

WwCT: My alternator? What does that do? Can I drive the car?

Me: I'm afraid not. And there's a possibility the alternator might have killed the battery. But don't worry, we'll run more tests. We'll see what's going on. But (dramatic pause) is there anyone you can call? So you can go home? (thinking, because we close in an hour, and i can't afford to pay your cab fare)

WwCT: Only my cousin. Maybe he can help us. Otherwise, what are we to do?

Me: (stands, looking thoughtful and sympathetic, wondering why child is still in restroom. hopes nothing inappropriate has been flushed down toilet)

dramatic music, fade out

Ah, the little dramas. At least she was nice about the car needing to stay overnight. But anyway, sometimes the job gives me these little moments of humor, when all the drama and stress are blown way, way out of proportion to the problem.

And I'm learning to appreciate the small moments of the sublime. Actually, I'm trying really hard to recognize that in any given day, in any stressful situation, there are moments of humor and moments of grace. And if you look for those moments, and recognize them, then everything else is a little easier to bear. You know those moments, they're the ones where, suddenly, your shoulders drop down from your ears, and your breath is a little deeper, a little steadier. They're the moments when you smile because you mean it, even though you're smiling at someone who just ranted about you and the job you did and the horse you rode in on. And those moments are there when you aren't stressed or angry, too. They're there when you watch that shaft of sunlight through the clouds and you feel full of life and connected to the world. The moments that you would love to just crystalize and hold in the palm of your hand forever, because they are so perfect, so pure. The feeling of sun on your face and wind at your back, the safety of settling into bed with your beloved after a long day, the comfort of watching the flowers every spring, the perfect peace of the world when it's snowing at three am. So. Those moments are there, and all we need to do is recognize them and find them, and appreciate the sublime in the madness. That's what life's about, the order in the chaos, the beauty in the storm, the sublime in the mad. Because, well, we are all mad here.


Rose Red said...

Moments of humour, moments of grace, these are both beautiful things. The moment when a person consciously exercises their choice to behave in a certain way, to respond to rudeness with kindness or whatever, is a beautiful thing, so rarely seen. Great post.

Donna Lee said...

You may be gratified to know that I had to leave work early today for my flu like symptoms. I am sitting here while dad is cooking me some eggs (his standard sick person offering). Kate has already made the tea and I had some chicken and dumpling gravy earlier. Hopefully this won't last long. And being able to find the "miracles" in every square inch is an important trait.

Bells said...

oh you poor chicken. Touch wood, but I can't recall the last time I was that sick with a bug. I really feel so very lucky because that really does sound like shit. Just awful. And to go to work, and not feel brave enough to find a doctor and oh, it's just horrible. US health services really do suck.

Love the grandma's pattern (obviously, since you found it on my blog). It's pretty much the most comforting knit I know so good choice!

Kate said...

Fear me, for I am the Plaguebringer!

Glad to hear that you're feeling slightly more human again. Maybe sometime soon (weather and health permitting) you and I could take a drive through the woods and enjoy some nature together. You know, that whole sun on your face, wind at your back thing.
You'd be driving, of course.

Olivia said...

Hope you're feeling much better now. I really like your living-in-the-moment philosophy. Many people can only focus on the bad.