Sunday, May 31, 2009

Home again, home again

This isn't the only thing I've ignored in the past few weeks. All of the familiar, comforting, (some even dull) routines fell by the wayside. (Where is the "wayside" anyway? Ahh, I am told by quick internet research that it's that strip of land along the edge of a path, road, or highway. So it seems to fall there is to join with the discarded and the lost.) For weeks I wasn't making it to the gym, or remembering to write things down in my calendar, or proactively grocery shopping. Or making my bed or keeping up with my food diary. Or playing Wii or watering my plants.

But, I was (here comes the feeble excuse), sick. Not once, but twice, which is twice as often as a typical year for me. I have to check the expiration dates on my cold medicine and pain relievers each time I use them. After the last post, returning from a trip upstate, I came down with a stomach bug that flattened me for nearly three days, days in which I "worked from home" by lying on the couch in a daze, watching bad TV, laptop propped open next to me in case an urgent email came in.

Back on my feet by the weekend, in time to clean the apartment and prep for a family visit the following week. Family here, lots of good times, but obviously routines shattered, and then a trip upstate to join them with the larger family.

Home again, home again, jiggety-jog. Alone, suddenly, in a quiet apartment, facing a return to work after a week off, and suddenly I am felled again by sickness. This time it's fever and chills, painfully sore throat and a hacking cough. Symptoms, nearly, of the infamous flu that stalks the news. (Later I will read that anyone who has had any flu-like symptoms in the past few weeks more than likely had the flu - I'm avoiding naming it by either its media-hungry name or its more clinical alternative, to keep idle searchers away - but at the time, I rebuffed any suggestion that it was more than just a minor bug.) Another three days "working from home" followed by a return to work still prone to coughing fits that frightened fellow subway riders and work colleagues alike.

And then, a trip, across the country, to join a friend and his friends in a "destination birthday" that I wasn't going to miss because of a persistent-yet-dwindling cough. Unexpected first-class upgrades, unwelcome online travel agency screw-ups (boycott the gnome!) and sandwiched in between, loads of fun. I had an entire day to myself, to wander around the city, exploring, eating, writing, shopping, and people-watching. On a previous visit to the same city, I'd been with relatives who were both a) interested in doing completely different things and b) extremely upset at the suggestion that we split up and not spend every moment together. Someday, I vowed, I'll come back here by myself and do whatever I want. If I want to sit on that bench and drink iced coffee and daydream, so be it. So, almost a decade later, I went back, and while it had the tinge of a "revenge" feel for the disappointments of the earlier visit, I still had a good time. I think in a way it was practice for going on a longer vacation alone - this time, I had get-togethers with my friend and his friends peppered throughout the weekend, so I was never completely bereft.

Home again, home again, and back to work, where I was slammed by everything that had built up over the vacations and the half-worked sick days. Buzz, buzz, cough, cough.

Yesterday, today, this weekend, I finally feel in control again. I made it to the gym without coughing up a lung. I did laundry, dropped off dry cleaning, paid bills, scrubbed the tub and shower. I even saw a movie! ("Star Trek" - an odd choice for someone who has never been a fan of the franchise - but I wound up liking it. I can't explain why, any more than I can explain why I chose that film vs. the French family drama playing at the same theater.)

And now I'm here. See?
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