I don’t feel so good…
Today, my friends. I am a doughnut. No. Wait. That idea is making things worse. An onion ring? Dear god, somebody stop me. Perhaps a bagel then?
A plain, undecorated, bagel. And you might want to skip this post.
I am hollow straight through. But no worries, it’s a temporary condition, and unrelated to teen angst; no wailing of long-lost love here, today. Nope, I’ve just got the flu. Not The Flu, as in the virus that killed 20 million people in 1918, but a flu. A garden variety, spending-all-day-getting-to-know-the-cold-tiles-of-your-bathroom-floor stomach flu.
In hindsight, that odd feeling late last night was prescience. But too ambiguous. Not nearly as direct as the nausea that woke me at dawn this morning. For the first few hours, it didn’t seem so bad. Everybody seemed complacent enough to file in a more or less orderly fashion to the exit. But right around noon: chaos erupted. Literally. They stormed out the entrance, a crowd of lettuce chunks and chicken slivers that I had last seen the night before.
And good thing I remembered that beet salad, or I would have been much more worried.
I dug out the old gray hoodie with the torn front pocket. Sick days require baggy old clothing. And it’s amazing how cold I am, all my system’s energy directed elsewhere. I slouch around. I make ginger tea. I imagine the muscles in my thighs being cannibalized to feed my inner army, all those miles bicycled, burning away…
But all in all? It’s really not that bad.
I have a clean bed to lie in, walls to contain my moaning, and no one is asking anything of me.
Not like that time in Bosnia, where I was on the train from Mostar to Sarajevo, missing epic mountain vistas to bend over dirty train toilets in hellish mobile bathrooms, trying to match my quaking to their shaking. No resting in that restroom.
Or the childhood trip to Paris, where I sprayed Minute Maid orange juice all over Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth and my brother’s yellow walkman. Seriously disrupted his appreciation of Duran Duran.
Or the packed commuter train to Brussels where I nearly tested Belgian stoicism right there in the vestibule. “Get out of the badkamer, meneer businessman! Nu!!!”
I don’t get motion sick, I swear, I just have damned bad luck with trains. And I haven’t even told you about the worst one.
The border between Zambia and Tanzania…now that was an experience. But I think you’ve had enough. I know I have. Ask me about it some other time, when my belly resembles a placid crater lake more than an active volcano.
The point is that I can consciously realign my focus, adjust my perceptions, and be glad that I’m heaving in the comforts of Home. Not so “comfortable”, perhaps an airplane seat versus a bed of nails (or the other way around?) but could be a whole lot worse.
But now it’s time for another cup of ginger tea and more of the novel I’m reading…that takes place in a certain country I can’t wait to visit…in less than two weeks…
May all your tea be properly steeped, your perceptions optimal, and your stomach congenial.
And your flus short-lived!