Almost Healthy

A sore throat is definitely the worst part of a cold for me. The later stages are no picnic, but are at least somewhat bearable. I find I can function, on some level, with a head cold, but there's a point toward the end of a cold in which my normal perceptions are impaired. I began my day by enjoying Cameron Crowe's awesome semi-autobiographical look at music and growing up in the ‘70s, Almost Famous. Initially, I feared my sore throat had returned when I awoke, but a few glasses of water and breakfast alleviated what was just a dry throat. Tired, I popped in the movie and settled back in to bed. When it was over, my biggest ailment was a nose that dripped like a leaky faucet, but I was a little shaky as I moved about. My dad asked me to help him put some lights out, but I was sluggish, off-balance, and not wanting to expose myself to cold air, selfishly forgetting how much worse it would be for someone his age. I felt guilty and got myself cleaned up and dressed, and decided in a possibly semi-delusional state to drive to the post office and the gas station. My mom had mentioned going to a late mass tonight since snow was predicted for tomorrow, and it sunk in that putting the lights out tomorrow wouldn't be an option. I mentioned to my dad that I'd take care of what he'd asked when I got back, and he accused me of “putting on an act” and “playing dumb” since I “knew [he] already put them up.” My sense of lost time was as great as my guilt; was I really moving that slow?

I put on a hat, something I'm generally loathe to do because of what it does to my hair, and probably bad memories of “keep-away” and people making fun of me for wearing a hat when I was younger. As I type this, it occurs to me that I need to figure out a way to recognize when my behavior patterns are dictated by things that happened twenty years ago, and change them in the now. In other words, I can't let those little snots keep haunting and running my life. Anyway, I staggered to my car in a daze and realized I meant to reinforce the mail with some tape, since either Netflix is using thinner paper or their envelopes are getting more beat up in transit thanks to higher holiday mail volumes. I stumbled back to the window and my asked my mom for tape, who handed it to me. She asked if I was okay to drive and I said yes.

I really don't remember the drive to the post office other than it was without incident because I was either too out of it to think about and cause anxiety, or because a stuffy nose kept me from over-breathing. Suddenly I was there in a parking spot, and panicked when the car next to me backed up without warning, because for a second there was an illusion that I was rolling forward and I slammed my foot on the brake even though I was in park and not moving at all. I laughed the laugh of a fool who should be anywhere but driving a car, and stumbled down the street to the post office.

My mail is so getting lost. It wouldn't fit in the slot and I looked in and saw the stack filling the bin. I managed to slide the movies in but it was a trick. For my next trick, I drove to the gas station which was packed since others anticipated bad weather tomorrow. I managed to fill up and make it back home, the journey again a blank. I realized with some irony that I drive better when I don't know what's going on. There was no soup in the house, so I decided to just lie down until church and start watching my Matrix boxed set. I remember Neo waking up in the pod, and then there was a noise like a chainsaw or electricity. I had a bad headache and I looked at the screen and saw it was on special features. At 3 or 4 second intervals Andy and Larry Wachowski's names were being highlit with an electrical sound effect in the background. Apparently, I'd fallen asleep again.

Mass presented more lost time. One minute I'm kneeling and hoping my nose doesn't drip on the pews and that people don't think me rude for not shaking hands at the peace offering, and the next thing I knew the priest was reading off the mass schedule for next week. It's hard to believe Christmas is a week away and that, after starting shopping early I subsequently did nothing for four weeks and suddenly have a lot of last minute buying to do. The way I spend money, I wouldn't be surprised if my credit card company thinks mine was stolen when they calculate this month's bill. As is the tradition, I offered to drive after mass. At this point I was completely delirious although I have complete recollection of the events. As I repeatedly hit “lock” instead of “unlock” on the keychain, my mom asked me if I was sure I was okay to drive. At a stoplight she punched my arm when I was “resting my eyes.” In Burger King I reached the height of irrationality. I grabbed a handful of napkins and put them in the bag, and grew enraged when my mom grabbed even more. I snapped at her in the parking lot, “TELL me how many napkins is enough!! No matter what I take, you ALWAYS take more! You TELL me what the right amount is so I don't screw up and do something right!” Rightly so, she refused to give me the car keys at this point, yet since she made the mistake of unlocking the car I got in the driver's seat first and refused to move. Eventually she caved and got in the car with a resigned, “What do I care if you kill us; I'm old.” I got us home safely but when my dad began lecturing me that I'm not going to get better staying in my room and should have gotten fresh air today, what SEEMED to me like a transparent dig for not doing any work today, my mom cut off my inevitable outburst and warned him that I was in one of “those moods.” After dinner I lay down again, still not feeling right, and watched the Matrix with commentary by philosophers who used the word ”Manichean” a lot. Did you know the first Matrix is deceptive and that the sequels go on to show the worlds being portrayed are not as Manichean as they seemed? I know I learned something, even though I slept through about an hour of it.

My head is clearing now though, and I think I'm able to string words together in my usual semi-cohesive manner. I feel ready to actually DO something tomorrow, and not lie around feeling useless or dazed. If it snows, I'll get some sleep and be ready to get started before my dad gets back from 7:30 mass. Hopefully, I'll even start wrapping the presents I've gotten already. And maybe, just maybe, I'll get through the other Matrix commentaries and write a decent post about the overall philosophy of the trilogy. And I won't lose track of time.


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