There is a certain happiness sighted when your bus comes along. It is of course a small specialized form of happiness and will never be a great thing.

-Richard Brautigan, The Old Bus

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Dying from the common cold

I have new appreciation of what must have been the most painful and agonizing death of the Martians who invaded Earth. Only generations of genetic selection for tolerance to pain and snot and the painful combination of snot and deep rumbling coughing could have brought me through this week. That and generic NyQuil and ibuprofen and the patient ministrations of the wife.

Imagine you are the captain of an invincible machine in the War of the Worlds, busily destroying everything (in the 1953 movie version I grew up with), when you start to feel that first hint of a constriction in your breathing and that slight drip at the back of your throat. Nothing serious. Allergies, perhaps. There's been plenty of wind and airborne dust, what with all the explosions and such. Surely, it's nothing to keep one from the work of eradicating the pestilence of human existence.

And then you die.

Well, maybe the Martians got the better end of it. More than once this week I considered it a cruel twist of fate that I had every reason to anticipate survival of my cold and flu symptoms.

I tried working Thursday after staying home Tuesday and Wednesday. I expected to work Friday as well. But it just didn't work out. By 7 p.m. Thursday I surrendered. It was all I could do to make it to the outbound train. As it turned out, the wife was in Rancho Cordova for her election training that evening (she works as a precinct inspector). That training finished up at 6:30 or so and she was able to catch a train to 65th, where we met for the ride home.

In my misery, I appreciated very much not having to drive home.

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