A cold in the head causes less suffering than an idea.
- Jules Renard
It started Saturday morning when I woke up with my throat sore and my nose clogged.
The feeling continued throughout the day as my body ramped up mucus production and it felt like pipes were bursting behind my eyes.
By Saturday night, being in a crowded spaces was more input than I could take and I sought the refuge of my bed.
Sunday morning started much the same as Saturday with the noted addition of achiness and a dramatic uptick in mucus production.
I’d made breakfast plans with friends and stayed in bed until the last possible moment before leaving to join them.
I had more planned for the day, but after breakfast spent my time alternating between sleep, blowing my nose and exhausting the offerings of Netflix Watch Instantly.
One would imagine such a day would make it difficult to find sleep when the night arrived. Not so.
I was out like a light.
My morning cup of coffee had no affect.
I added a muffin to my usual bagel, thinking we’re supposed to feed these things. Why you’d feed a cold, I don’t know. Why I thought this one would like a blueberry muffin, I’m even less clear on.
Today wasn’t my finest as a teacher. The plumbing leak behind my eyes continued, I think I pulled something when I sneezed and I probably should have packed two handkerchiefs in my back pocket when I left the house.
Still, we learned today. We examined the Hero’s Journey, discussed the implications of skin tone in subjective definitions of beauty and engaged in a writer’s workshop. I didn’t dare stop moving. Stopping would bring on that slow motion effect where you can see all of the momentum of the day slamming into a person as they become stationary.
Ideally, I’d take off tomorrow and call in sick. But, that wouldn’t be ideal.
Taking off means sub plans and sub plans mean the disruption of other plans.
My first period class is beginning its writer’s workshop tomorrow. I’m covering another teacher’s class while he chaperones a field trip. My food class is in the middle of a project. And, I’ll be damned if I’m leaving the weekly storytelling Story Slams in the hands of a substitute.
There’s a negotiation that happens in my mind when I’m ill during the school year. I liken it to the negotiations one might overhear when listening in on the nonsensical purchasing of a car.
“I’ve got a number in my head.”
“But I didn’t say anything.”
“Even if you had, this number is so perfect, you wouldn’t have guessed it.”
“Listen, I’d really like to sell you this car.”
“I’m sorry, but I’ve got this number in my – Nope!”
“Wait, I didn’t even have time to guess. You interrupted your own sentence.”
“I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree.”
No matter how hard I try to sell my conscience on the idea of a sick day, short of being flat out on my back, no bargain will ever be reached.
So, I’ll suit up tomorrow and teach, because it’s a cold, and a lot of other teachers have taught through a lot worse.
Clearly, I’m a horrible patient.