I’m sure, sooner or later, I will be struck down with a cold in the coming weeks. It’s only a matter of time. I can feel it in the air. I can hear it in the muffled coughs of my coworkers.
Is my deskmate Jersey Girl clearing her throat or is this little cough the sign of something more sinister? I hear phlegm being hacked up in the break room and a sneeze coming from down the hall. It seems that the office is a breeding ground for germs.
Every time I feel my nose twitch, I assume the cold bug has come for me. I blow my nose, apply hand sanitizer and wait. I keep antibacterial wipes in my desk drawer. I’ll wipe down my phone and keyboard before I leave for the night. If Lysol were body spray, I’d coat myself in it.
I think I’m being a bit paranoid because I managed to survive my holiday break without getting sick, which is new for me. Typically, my body seizes the opportunity to relax as a time to knock me down with a virus of some kind.
My husband came down with something the day after Christmas and my father fell ill two days later. Chuck and I have a tradition of spending the last week of the year with my folks in whatever state they are living in at the time. Nevada is much more welcoming than Indiana – their last homestead – but the germs are just as nasty in the desert.
My mother and I woke up each morning expecting the other to be infected with whatever had taken hold of the men. We formed an alliance and vowed not to follow their lead. I think it was a regimen of naps, Coca-Cola, peanut butter blossom cookies, hot cocoa and homemade cheese fondue that sustained us and kept us in the clear.
We also refused to get out of our pajamas unless absolutely necessary. It was heaven.
Now that I am back in the office, the napping has come to a screeching halt, and in adherence with the company dress, my daily attire has returned to sweaters, dress pants and boots. I’ve also resumed eating salads for lunch and left the junk food behind. The improved diet is probably a good thing, but that doesn’t mean I’m not daydreaming about homemade cookies.
I know colds happen. I know getting sick is part of life, but I hate being useless. I like to be lazy on my own terms. I’d like to think that if I continue to be on my best behavior, this cold and flu season will skip me, but I’m not that lucky. And if I am spared, that means I will likely be cursed and fall ill during my long anticipated venture to Disney World happening later this year.
Chuck claims his brush with sickness has passed, and he seems to be healthy, but he still has a bit of a sniffle. And when I say sniffle, I mean it sounds like he is vacuuming snot back into the far reaches of his brain. I offer him a tissue, but he says there is no use. If there is enough to come out, he would have blown his nose, he says.
I don’t argue with this. I spent the first few years of our relationship showering him in tissues hoping he’d take the hint and just blow already. But alas, some battles aren’t worth fighting after a decade.
Instead, I will use the tissue boxes to assemble a fortress around me and wait out cold and flu season. I’ll bring the can of Lysol. Just in case.
Editor’s Note: Samie Hartley is the online editor for the newspapers that are part of Napa Valley Publishing, including the St. Helena Star.