You need to be careful about colds, my mother said, they used to kill people.
That was back in my exciting asthma days, when a cold was pretty much the worst that could happen, as opposed to nowadays, when it’s clearly overshadowed by other tragedies, like broken fingernails or the perfect pair of shoes on sale in every size but mine.
For twenty years, I haven’t paid the slightest attention to colds. They came and went, leaving me red nosed, mascara smudged in the process, but never shunting me off my track or shaking me to my foundations. They were just one of those things one learned to live with, like greasy dishes and alarm clocks. Life was bearable, despite them. But as time passed, for some reason I grew into this fragile little thing a cold can easily turn into a snotty, feverish, useless blob of a person.
So yesterday I took my first sick day in, oh well, since I can remember.
I woke up, two days into a nasty cold, to loud rain crashing against the window above my head, stuffy nose and a fever. The prospect of a lovely downpour themed, 45 minutes long walk to the office was indeed tempting, but V had one look at me and pushed me back into bed, shaking his index finger and stomping his foot at me like the responsible, caring boyfriend he is. He would have even written the I’m-sick-as-a-dog email for me, had I not soon taken the initiative myself, being the typo-free-emails freak that I am.
Half an hour later, I was left alone in the flat, having sworn to behave and under no circumstances sneakily work myself into an even worse, snottier condition. My laptop being thus off limits, I actually laid under the covers for a while, infinitely pleased at my good girl, responsible attitude, and determined to sleep, hydrate and Vitamin C the cold away. That lasted for about ten minutes, until I happened to glance at the thick layer of dust on top of my nightstand, and be positively outraged at the state of things. So I dragged myself out of bed and spent the next couple of hours scrubbing, wiping and hoovering the flat into a state of hygienic perfection.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always had this crazy impulse to clean everything six times over whenever things weren’t particularly good. As if the first step in dealing with my inside messes is to try and sort out the mess outside. It’s probably crazy, and says embarrassing things about me to those of you who are into psychoanalysis and stuff, but I can’t help it, I’m a Monica Geller kind of gal!
Once the flat was spotless, I loaded the washing machine, paid the rent, cooked myself a pot of noodles, ate them, unloaded the washing machine and then finally climbed back into bed and finished The Magic Mountain.
Sure, the sick-people-on-a-mountain story has taken me forever. And sure, it’s felt like the longest book I’ve ever read. But now that it was finally behind me, I couldn’t really stop, could I? So I started and finished another one, a short Romanian novel by Catalin Pavel, Aproape a Saptea Parte din Lume (roughly translates to: Almost the Seventh Part of the World), which I loved. It’s about this middle aged man who one day sells everything he owns in an attempt to escape his past, and now spends his days train traveling, with no destination in sight.
I know it seems like I did nothing but ignore the doctor’s (V’s) orders, with all the crazy cleaning and binge reading, but I’ll let you know I also sipped what must have been at least half my body volume in unsweetened-thus-tasteless tea, and had a good, couple hours long nap, from which I woke up scared and confused, convinced someone was throwing pebbles at my bedroom window. Gotta love this hey-it’s-may-let’s-rain-all-day-every-day London weather.
Now, all things considered, I am feeling better today and it looks like at least I won’t be spending my bank holiday (Yay!) weekend in bed, half covered by an avalanche of used tissues, hot tea dripping straight into my vein. Obsessive cleaning is the new chicken soup cure for colds and achy souls, I tell you.
Wishing you all a sunny, germ free weekend ahead!