Sick days used to be simple. When I was a kid (circa. 1990), staying home sick from school meant commandeering the couch and starting your reign as couch commander with an hour of “The Price is Right”. This would be followed up with a combination of other game shows, cartoons and possibly a “very special” episode of “Jenny Jones” featuring women who suffered from botched plastic surgeries who had also been abducted by aliens.
Sick days are more complicated now that I’m an adult. It’s not my age that makes things different. It’s the advancements in technology that have convoluted my quaint sick day rituals.
I’m not sure if it was the sobbing in the theater after viewing “Avengers: Endgame” (twice), the nail biting after watching “Game of Thrones” or the celebratory screaming during San Jose Sharks playoff hockey, but my body decided that I needed to take a timeout. To ensure that I rested, I was gifted a sore throat, clogged sinuses and a phlegmy cough that made me sound like I’ve smoked five packs a day for 20 years. It hasn’t been pretty.
Typically when I’m not feeling well, I do my best to suck it up and soldier through a day at the office, but I didn’t want to put my coworkers at risk of getting whatever bug had bitten me, so I reluctantly decided to stay home.
Even when I’m sick, I still try to work from home so I don’t fall behind, but this week, I didn’t feel confident I could send out coherent emails, so I elected to go full sick mode. I crawled out of bed, showered, grabbed a fresh box of tissues and took my station on the couch. All hail the couch queen!
I grabbed the remote and turned on the TV. When I was a kid, we had 42 channels to choose from. This week, I found myself staring at hundreds of channels, in both standard and HD. I scrolled through the listings, but my medicated brain couldn’t handle it. I shut the TV off. I’d already missed “The Price is Right” anyway. Things were off to a rocky start.
My cell phone offered no satisfying distractions either. The seemingly endless choices on TV where only multiplied when I swiped through the options available on my phone. If I didn’t feel like I could send out a coherent email, I probably shouldn’t be on social media. Not that I was worried of posting something inappropriate. I was more concerned of falling down the rabbit hole on Instagram and following pages about crickets – both the insect or the sport. I already follow Bark-Andre Furry, a dog named after Las Vegas Golden Nights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury – which as a Sharks fan is sacrilegious as it is, but I’m a sucker for cute animals. I don’t need other questionable profiles showing up in my feeds.
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I decided silence was more comforting than TV or smart phone disturbances. I sat on the couch cross-legged, wrapped in a blanket. I was content to sit there and see how long I could breathe through my nose until my nostrils replugged. My peace didn’t last long though.
As I stared out into the vastness of my living room, my gaze settled on some debris on the floor. Dust? Crumbs? Flecks of paper? I wasn’t sure.
As I tried to identify the specks, I recognized there were lots of little spots on the floor. I’d missed vacuuming day, I realized.
I could vacuum now, I told myself. My little sweeper is light and easy to push around. It would only take a minute.
Thankfully, I was able to reason with myself. Who vacuums when they are sick?!
My Mom. That’s who. I’m sounding just like my Mom. And as crazy as it may sound, I don’t think it’s crazy at all. My Mom is a super awesome lady, and I’d be lucky to grow up to be just like her.
So Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. You’re still the voice in my head, but the vacuuming is going to have to wait.