For all that it sucks to suffer a perpetual throat tickle and spasm rattling my lungs, there’s a loveliness to a phlegmy day at home. If this were a Saturday, I’d feel a pang of obligation to accomplish chores or do something more profound to better my life. Or I’d feel like I wasn’t truly relaxing to full capacity, and I’d have to come up with some elaborate recreation.
If I were at work right now, I’d feel guilty for not working. (Or, worse still, I’d actually be working.)
But since I dragged my laptop back to bed at 8:13 a.m. to send an email to my bosses, I could lie there dozing and surfing (and coughing) for a guilt-free three extra hours, only to get out of bed because the article I was reading about palliative care mentioned cottage cheese and mayonnaise, and I realized I really wanted some 50s-tastic pear salad (canned pear half, cottage cheese, spoonful of mayo, and shredded cheddar, if you’re feeling fancy). And also, I had to pee.
Resettled semi-upright on the couch, I watched SportsCenter long enough to see the Red Wings highlight, which still involved way too much Tiger Woods, then turned to Lifetime for a sweet, sweet Will & Grace marathon. When I felt like standing up, I padded over to the dining table to work on my 1,000-piece puzzle of Broadway Playbill covers. The cat did calisthenics.
My sick day: puzzle, cat, infomercial.
And I am developing new and profound awareness of myself. Like how I would kick the absolute snot out of that Dance Moms behemoth. And this scented deodorant may have been a bad idea.
At 12:45 p.m., I made my morning coffee. But I didn’t have real coffee, so I used instant powder. And I didn’t have sugar, so I used honey. And I didn’t have milk, so I used Breyer’s Reese’s Peanut Butter ice cream.
One might think I should go to the grocery store. Except no: This is a sick day.
Aw, hell. Will & Grace is over. Ooh, never fear: The Wire season four finale.
Perhaps the sick day’s weirdest freedom of all is the complete absence of a mandated schedule. I kept thinking I was waiting for something—for 5:30, as I normally would be—but there’s nothing to wait for. Godot is not coming, nor did I expect him. If the day was to have a milestone, I’d have to mark it myself. And I dunno. That sounded like a lot of work.
My biggest ambition thus far? Epic grilled cheese. Caramelized onions en route.
At 2:30 p.m., I strolled out to the curb to get the mail—barefoot and in my matching horsey PJs. And the mailbox was empty. Low point of the afternoon. I realized that, barring a surfeit of lung mucus, I’d have to go to work tomorrow. I realized I’d have to take a shower at some point. I felt like I should exercise. I thought about getting a jump on tomorrow’s tasks. I was a disappointment. I eyed the dirty dishes.
Ooh, No Reservations? Yes, please.
Horsey PJs. Giddy up, bitches.
4 p.m. found me mid-round of Wii golf, doubt creeping in about the day’s value. You guys, I really miss Will & Grace. I assured myself that shooting a -13 and then reading TIME on the porch was of exceptional benefit to my health. And for the life of me, I couldn’t think of anything better to do.
At 4:15 I realized I hadn’t seen the cat in four hours. And then I thought, “Y’know, when I compare my productivity with hers, I’m incredibly accomplished today. Frankly, I’m a little worn out.”
And then I bogeyed the 17th. Stupid cat.
5 p.m. Quittin’ time. No more murky sense of obligations neglected; suddenly sitting on the couch watching TV becomes appropriate again.
Whew. Rough day. Time to kick back and…keep watching TV. Tomorrow’s not gonna get any easier.