Being ill is pretty much the only time I wish that I still lived at home or that I had a boyfriend. My mum is obviously my first choice of caretaker when I’m ill, but a boyfriend will do in a pinch. The last time I was this ill my then boyfriend brought me orange juice and croissants in bed with a side of Lemsip. Though ultimately a total waste of space, he had his redeeming qualities. He also believed a good horizontal workout would knock the flu out of me. It didn’t, but it was better than daytime telly.
This morning I woke up, head pounding, forehead burning, and face leaking. It was not attractive. At all. An hour later I called in sick and pulled out my phone to go through my emails as I tried to will myself out of bed to make the long trek down the high street to the chemist. I struggled out of bed, wearing only pants and looked around the room for something to put on. I grabbed the lycra leggings at my feet and, after stepping out of my pants and kicking them into the hamper, stretched them up over my legs so people would see that I had literally lost the will to give a flying fuck about anything. One should never wear lycra workout leggings in public. Ever. Unless you’re, you know, running. Which I considered doing, but thought I would actually suffocate to death as I already felt as if I were breathing through a straw. I pulled on my calf length Uggs and my Northface puffy jacket, slinging my Longchamp bag over my shoulder as I grabbed my keys and headed for the door. I passed a full length mirror and stopped. This is not a good look for me. I stared myself down, eyes red and bleary. I should put my hair up.
I have literally owned and lost no less than 1,000 hair ties in my lifetime. They are the most misplaced items I own. When I need one I can never find one, but then once I buy a pack it’s as if every pocket of every jacket I own has, like, three hair ties in it. It’s infuriating. Giving up after a futile, albeit brief, search though the pockets of the trousers slung over my bed post, I stormed out, hair falling freely around my shoulders.
My mum says there’s two places you’re allowed to cry in public and that’s in airports and hospitals. Well, I think there’s only two instances where you should be able to go out looking like I did today and that’s when you’re ill or 9 months pregnant. As I walked down the street the rain cooled my forehead. I didn’t even care that it was making my hair even more disheveled than it already looked.
Pushing the door to Boots open took all the effort in my body and I wandered aimlessly up the aisles. I’m a very whingy ill person, which I most definitely get from my mum. When my mum is ill all hell breaks loose. Because of this, I inwardly whinge, or you know, outwardly to the internet – but anonymously. You won’t see any Facebook posts from me about my illness because I think I would find it very confusing if someone ‘liked’ a status like that, and I can’t deal with that right now. Besides, I really need to get in the habit of writing on the blog more. And what more would people want from a blog about sex than a minute-to-minute account of my day home from work. It’s almost as exciting as Ferris Bueller’s day off, but not quite. Not yet at least. I’ve got time.
Anyway. As I had my inner monologue of how hard my life is, I found myself in front of the hair ties. Two pound thirty-nine?! I’ve never stolen anything, and I don’t know if it was the fever or the pure rage at the cost of what were essentially cloth rubber bands, but I had never felt a stronger urge to commit petty theft in my life. I picked them up and threw them in my basket, dismissing the idea. I didn’t feel like being shamed by all the CCTV cameras around. Not today. There was a massive Berocca display so I picked up a pack of the orange flavoured ones and dropped it in the basket as well. A colleague suggested I take something called Contact so I ordered that at the pharmacy counter and grabbed a handful of Halls packs. I stared at my basket. Only the hair ties were left to place on the counter. I glared at them and as I pulled out my wallet a hair tie fell out. Jackpot! I threw the pack of hair ties to the side unceremoniously and made my purchase. I still kind of wanted to steal the hair ties out of spite, though. Don’t worry, I didn’t.
My next stop was Waitrose where I spent no less than an hour deciding my culinary future. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I am domestically challenged. Which is why I appeal to the Mothernator on Twitter in situations such as these to help me with life decisions like, what is the difference between fabric softener and washing powder? And, what should you eat when you’re ill? India Knight literally had to explain to me how to do laundry via Twitter. I think she judged me for that. No one has judged me more than I’ve judged myself on this though, trust me.
After thirty minutes in Waitrose I had Kleenex, Tropicana 50 orange and mango juice, toothpaste and an empty chilled coffee I had opened and drank to take the pills with. Again, don’t worry – I paid for it. As I meandered around the store I noticed that nearly every woman there was dressed like me. Lycra, Ugg boots, a puffy or oversized jacket and unruly hair. Though most of them were pushing buggies. Dear Lord, is this what I have to look forward to? Waitrose at ten in the morning on a Thursday? I sniffed and tried to avoid sneezing in the vicinity of anyone under the age of three. I saw such a chap sitting in his buggy as his mum perused the soups. He looked bored so I waved at him. He laughed and waved back. ‘Hi!’ He shouted. I smiled and mouthed ‘Hi’ back. I sensed that I was going to have to sneeze, so left the little bugger to his own devices and walked towards the spirits where I was confident there would be no roaming children to inflict my sickness on.
As I continued shopping and observing all the women who looked exactly as I did, just with children in tow, I thought This might not be all bad. I mean, lycra IS comfortable. And I love my Uggs. As the thought went through my mind a baby started screaming and I was over it. I’ll take the city, tight dresses and heels for now.
I had emailed a friend earlier, warning them that they would be subject to my constant whinging all day. Clearly when I said I suffer in silence, I lied. The subject was ‘I’m dying’ … And clearly if I’ve ever said that I’m not melodramatic, that was a lie as well. The email went thusly:
Not really. But I’m definitely not well. Took your advice and am staying home. Looks like I’ll have to distract you with emails all day since I need someone to entertain me now.
I’m a great friend, I know. He had obliged to take my endless train of thought emails on the banality of my day home sick. I stood in Waitrose and started typing.
Help. At Waitrose. What’s best to eat when ill?
He replied quickly.
Anything unhealthy! Get some nice bread, big chunk of lurpack and a chorizo and bean soup.
I cringed at the thought of food and wandered some more. I typed back.
All I have is Kleenex and orange juice. Making a sandwich sounds like a lot of admin x
He wrote, Pringles and ice cream?
It sounded like a horrible combination. I wrote back.
A liquid diet is acceptable when you’re sick right? A non-alcoholic one, obviously. Though I do love Baileys and hot chocolate.
I swear I’m on the Truman Show right now. The entire store is gravitating to whatever aisle I’m in. Fuck. Off! (Not you.)
We’re all watching you, didn’t you know?
Slightly disconcerting, but it felt like a definite possibility at the time nonetheless. Something about shops makes me extremely claustrophobic. I wrote back.
I’m literally going to kick the next buggy that touches me. An empty buggy, obviously, as it seems completely socially acceptable to let babies run around the store.
Ok might go with ham and cheese and roasted peppers and hot chocolate. Maybe with Baileys. Whiskey helps cure a flu right? *swigs from bottle of Talisker*
I put the phone away to focus on my task at hand as the army of buggies followed me around the store. I don’t know why, but I always feel like I’m in people’s way whenever I shop. Note to self, use Ocado. I gathered my ingredients sans Baileys as it was pretty much the opposite of what I needed at the moment and finally headed for the checkout after an hour of misguided wandering.
Finally at home, I put the food away, put on some washing, and dug out my laptop from where it was lying under notebooks and unread Stylist magazines. The thought of recalling the stories I’ve been meaning to tell seemed tiresome, but I heard that it takes twenty-one days to create a habit and I want to create the habit of writing a post everyday. Or maybe every other day. Or at least every week. So I began to type what was at the forefront of my mind.
A lot of craziness went down in 2012, and if you’ve got the patience and time this month, I’ll tell you all about it. My goal is to be caught up and onto this year by April.
So this is Day 1. Twenty more to go.
Next time, the story about the French gentleman I met in Abacus. (Finally. It happened, what? A year ago? Better late than never.)
Postscript: Too exhausted to manage ham and cheese I collapsed on my sofa and checked my email. My friend had written me back.
I laughed/coughed/choked watching the video and realised his emails had been the only thing to cheer me up all day.