I am, as the Smiths would put it, still ill.
Yesterday, bothered and frustrated by that fact, I resorted to those lozenges that have names like Cold-eze or So You Can’t Breathe Without It Hurting Well Maybe Suck On This. The directions for them always amuse and worry in equal measure: Don’t take any more than six a day! Don’t take them any faster than one every two hours! Don’t feed after midnight! One of the particular directions of these particular lozenges in question was, “Don’t bite on it, just suck it until it dissolves entirely.”
So I put it in my mouth and obey the directions, thinking to myself don’t bite it I know I want to bite it but just don’t bite it for the love of God when, entirely unthinkingly, I swallow it whole.
Now, this shouldn’t be a problem — it was pretty small, and it’s not as if it could really lodge in my throat and kill me, and yet that’s exactly what I was convinced was going to happen. For the next ten minutes after swallowing, I sat there nervously, unable to do anything other than just wonder when I’d suddenly stop breathing without notice. Goodbye, cruel world, I thought to myself. At least when I’m dead, I won’t have to keep blowing my nose.
Firmly into day three of being sick, and I’ve reached the stage where sleeping isn’t really an option; instead, I found myself lying awake in bed, my throat killing me and my head unable to stop running through “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson. Despite this, I know that I’m getting better because thinking doesn’t seem like such a full-time occupation anymore, unlike yesterday.
What’s amused/annoyed me in equal parts about this cold is that, the past few times I’ve been sick, it’s been on weekends and I’ve felt sorry for myself, thinking if only this would happen during the week, I wouldn’t lose my free time to being sick. Now that it’s actually happened, I’ve realized how misguided I was; my deadlines still exist, it’s just that they take longer to meet when you can’t think straight. File under “Be Careful What You Wish For, Because You’re Dumb.”
I could feel it coming on yesterday, and I alternated between denying it and embracing it with a certain fatalism (Of course I’m getting sick, I’m about due for this). What it means right now is an unclear head, a sore throat that constantly needs to be cleared, occasional coughing, a running nose and me feeling sorry for myself.
Really, it wouldn’t be January without this happening. It just got in under the wire.
I’m often struck, reading news stories about snow storms and blizzards and such hitting other parts of the country, by something approaching jealousy — a sense of that weather sounds exciting, I wish we had snow. It’s as if there’s part of my brain that hears the word “snow” or “blizzard” and immediately falls into a drift of romanticized imagery where it’s cold and white outside, yet still friendly and welcoming, and people go out and build snowmen before coming back in to drink hot chocolate.
The reality, I know, is very different. Since moving to Portland, I’ve been through a couple of genuine snowstorms which are exciting and beautiful at the time, but bring all manner of problems (Better hope that you’ve stocked up, because you’re really not going to want to get groceries during that kinda thing). It always ends with the snow melting, and just days of slush and greyness outside, the thing I always forget. One of these days, I’ll remember the downsides instead of just being jealous about the postcard version of things in my head.
Today’s post is postponed by the Fantastic Four trailer, which I’ve already written about twice and will probably do so another couple of times before the day is out. Sometimes, a trailer, or a piece of news about something similar, is released and I find myself writing about it a number of times for a number of different outlets. It’s an interesting experience, trying to keep track of what I’ve written for where, and also the different tones and expectations of each outlet. I can say this nerdy detail here, but it’d be lost over here and so on.
The problem always comes when the thing you’re writing about is so vague that it’s difficult to pull any details out of, of course; I remember the Star Wars trailer and the number of times I essentially wrote “Well, we don’t know who these guys are, but it looks great, huh?” over and over again.
Looking at the list of locations and former wifi networks on my Kindle is like reading a particularly off-kilter recitations of everywhere I’ve been for the last year or so. Like an elephant, it appears that a Kindle never forgets — at least where it concerns Internet connectivity. It offers up a number of options anytime it’s somewhere new, a coded collection of past locations: Where was 2mbbt, again? Was it somewhere I went to via the Bolt Bus free wifi that’s also on here?
When we’re old and forgetful — so, you know, next week at the rate I’m going — it’ll be these kinds of collections of old Internet logins that will survive us and tell us where we used to be. Our lives written out in keychains and forgotten passwords to locations we won’t even remember visiting.
Weekends have, over the last few months, increasingly become one of two things to me: refuges from the almost-certain insanity of work, or alternate flavors of insanity, with socializing taking the place of relaxing and the hope being that a change really is as good as a rest, like they say. This weekend is one of the latter, and I find myself feeling old in a way that I am surprised by, and grumpy about. I feel I should be less set in my ways and inwardly demanding early nights and time to unwind beside a fire with a good book, silently fearing the work week ahead (Oh, it’s such a week ahead, oh god), and yet all I want to do is crawl away from the world and be selfish for awhile. Next weekend, I guess.
Upon seeing an old college friend post an image of himself in full suit on social media yesterday, I’ve been pondering my lack of sartorial smartness. Back in the day, I tried harder than I do now, I confess; in large part, that was because of my age, and the world I moved in back then — and the fact that I was, in many ways, trying to keep up with said college friend, who was always impeccably stylish, even when he tried to do slovenly — but there’s no escaping the fact that I’ve left myself go, so to speak.
What I find myself struggling with is the idea of whether or not I care that I’ve let myself go. I mean, it’s not like I’ve entirely given up, and I still have my moments. More importantly, I work at home, and have far less reason to dress up than I once did. Maybe more to the point, I feel more comfortable now, and not just because I’m not wearing suit jackets that might’ve been a bit small for me but the price was right and I really wanted it, goddammit. I think of the line from the poem about growing old, growing old, and wearing tops of trousers rolled, and I wonder to myself, was that always about fashion and I didn’t realize it?
To the probable surprise of no-one, I keep a written list of deadlines on my (computer) desktop at all times, to ensure that I don’t forget about something that I really, really should be working on at this very minute. It’s not a complicated list — it literally goes DATE — OUTLET STORY, so you have things like “1/23 — WIRED Internet Week,” telling me that I have to finish the Internet Week column (which runs under the “While You Were Offline” name on the site) for WIRED today. That kind of thing.
The thing is, of course, there are times when I should be working on something that’s due, but my brain just does not want to. Not even slightly; those, my friends, can be the best days. Take yesterday, for example, when I was facing a day with six deadlines and knew that today, I’d have seven. One of those deadlines was a long piece that my brain was just staying away from wanting to do, so instead it did what it always does in that circumstance: tell me what to do for everything else, instead. The end result was, I did five of the deadlines due yesterday, and three due today, as well.
Of course, now I have to do the remaining deadline from yesterday right now, before anyone else on the West Coast is up, but still. Somehow, that still feels like a good thing. Ask me if I still feel that way an hour from now, mind you…