I was “WFH” today, which is kind of like “AWOL” except that they know where you are. I went to bed around 9.30 last night feeling very nauseous and just generally not right, due to what I’m not sure. (Clint, I’m blaming the chili. Maybe the fritos should go on before the cheese). I slept soundly for a good 20-25 minutes and then spent the next 3 hours thrashing around like the “what not to do” portion of a Stop-Drop-n-Roll video, twisting all the sheets into a surrogate bed partner.
The abdominal pain and my heartbeat pounding in my ears finally drove me out of bed a little after 1.00am, my mind spinning in a sleep-deprived fog. The hypochondriac said, “Go to the hospital! You have a massive intestinal blockage, or a burst appendix, or a hernia – or all of the above! You need an abdominal CT and a chest xray, stat!” Cursed television hospital dramas that taught my brain those words, and cursed WebMD for teaching it what they mean! The realist said, “You ate too much, too quickly, you pig, and now you’re going to explode in a firestorm of skin, blubber and chili like a water balloon hitting the concrete. Serves you right, piggy!” I should note that no part of my brain ever gives me a break, so if you ever think you’re being hard on me, take comfort knowing that you’re not half as cruel as my inner monologue.
I chose the conservative route and went to a 24-grocery instead of the hospital. Mostly because I have no idea where a hospital is this side of downtown, and every time I’ve been inside one lately it’s nothing like Scrubs. It was a quick visit, clutching several boxes of promise-making pharmeceuticals and trying to walk as little like a bell-ringing hunchback as possible – not that I would have been out of place with the other high-caliber clientele buying groceries at this hour. I found my way home and ordered my purchases systematically on the kitchen counter in the order i would take them: least drastic first, see how it goes, then move up to the harder stuff should it be necessary. Note that i am not advocating this strategy. My formal advice would be: when in doubt, always take the Percocet first; you can find a band-aid for that hangnail later, after you’ve finished guest-hosting the Merv Griffin Show wearing only your underwear and a lampshade.
Sometime around 5.00am I gave up on ever being a functioning member of humankind again, resigning myself to a life of rolling around on the bathroom floor well into my golden years. Lying on my back, the warmth of the laptop on my chest staving off the early throes of hypothermia in my 76-degree bedroom, I emailed the office to say i’d be Working From Home, and to please tell my family i loved them.
Somehow the day passed, the telecommuting keeping my mind occupied and the elastic waistband in my flannel pajama pants preventing my having to fumble with a zipper. With a sparse diet of crackers and water (a flashback to my supermodel days, sans the cigarettes) I basked in the warm glow of an LCD screen and, later, the sun, soaking up the healing rays of both.
At 5.30pm, after everyone else in the office had logged out, i allowed myself to do so, as well. Dad’s suggestion to get some fresh air seemed like a good one, the morning’s rain had dried up, and my car was still dirty from the Memorial Day roadtrip, so i bumbled around the driveway cleaning it up. My head was still soupy with drugs and sleeplessness, but the finished product looked so inviting I couldn’t resist a drive around the block, at least. Fifteen feet out of the driveway the “low fuel” light rained on my parade, and 500 feet further on what had now become a quick trip around the block to the gas station, the black clouds moved in threateningly. Every light was red, but the gas station was mercifully empty. No matter, though, because my wallet was at home, on my nightstand.
I had obviously been trading my ambitious energy on margin and lost due to plummeting prices, because the drive home was a race to see who would grind to a halt first, me or the car. We both made it home, discouraged but thankful, but not before a stray glance in the rearview mirror delivered an unpleasant kick to a man already down: I was wearing girls’ sunglasses. I don’t know where they came from, and the black frames and dark lenses looked normal enough initially, but now in the sunlight i could see the characteristically turned-up corners and a purplish hue to the lenses. I chose to squint in the sunlight the last several blocks home.
Esconced once more in my internet-enabled Batcave, swathed in thumpy music and surrounded by empty Sprite cans, I’m not entirely sure I’ll be ready for the real world come monday.