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Tuesday, 16 November
Ill Communication

Well, hi there! It's been a while, hasn't it? Sorry about that.

I was all set on Thursday to give you a rip-roaring little piece on stamp fraud, when all of a sudden . . . I started to feel kind of icky. You know: that creeping awareness of small clues--a tickle in the throat, a little sweat, mild headache, alarming nonappetite for booze . . . yeah, I was definitely fighting something off. I didn't really feel up to writing, but I did go to bed with a health-restoring attitude of positivity, telling myself, "I'll feel so much better in the morning!"

The wife informed me later, "It was like a dead man crawling into bed with me. You were so cold." We then had a heated discussion about the various corpse-trysts she had enjoyed in her past and my ignorance of such atrocities, but that's best left between the lady and myself.

Needless to say, on Friday morning, feeling like the Wet Questing Nose of Anubis, I called in sick. Several times, actually, and there's really nothing like standing around in one's underwear, sicker than hell, trying desperately to reach the office and having nobody pick up. What the fuck is going on? I wondered, dialing for the third time and hearing again only unanswered rings. Finally, after dropping the phone due to uncontrollable shivering, I realized that I had dumbly been dialing the office number from two years ago before we moved offices. I had to find one of my own business cards in my wallet to look up the right number because I was so fucking miserable. After calling in, I returned to bed, where the wife muzzled me anew, gratefully, no doubt welcoming my clammy, deathlike form and attendant funk of the incipient grave.

Hours later, after the wife had split for work, I finally arose around noon, not due to any wish to get out of bed, but simply because I was too fucking bone-cold to stay in the room. Being apparently completely fucking delirious (though I was having incredible chills, I'm betting my fever was off the charts; later on in the day, when I felt slightly less miserable, I was still clocking in at 102), I then got up, put on a horrid, threadbare little flannel robe and nothing else and parked myself in front of the TV for a few hours of mindless programming and some really kinetic shaking. No socks. No undershirt. Just a crummy robe and the gloomy glow of daytime television. I didn't even adjust the thermostat, which is programmed to be off during weekdays unless overridden. I can honestly say that I have no idea what I was thinking while I sat there all that time--pausing only, of course, to go outside, where it was much colder, to miserably smoke vile-tasting cigarettes--except maybe that while some believe the world will end in fire and others in ice, I was pretty sure mine was ending in ratty flannel.

Eventually, when I had sort of wised up a bit, I tried for a shower to hoist up the old core temp. When I disrobed, I was seized again with a horrid case of the shakes, and could barely manipulate the faucet controls, and in one memorable spasm, caused my face to impact nicely onto the tiled wall in front of me. I did start to feel better after a couple minutes of standing under the warming spray, and the steam felt good on the sinuses. Then I started to feel vaguely uncomfortable, and I looked down at my torso, which was gleaming a sinister red underneath the murderous spray; I realized that I was verging on giving myself skin burns, and reluctantly dropped the heat level down from George Clooney to more like Ethan Hawke.

One thing that is weirdly entertaining about being horribly ill are the startling fever dreams. One I had that night featured a foosball table at my workplace. It's in a stupid location in the hallway on the way to the elevator, and in this particular dream, I stopped by the foosball table and glanced down at the gaily-attired little amputee players. Then I leaned down and bit off all of their heads, crunching them in my teeth like candy. (Confession: this is probably because in real life, I have actually fantasized about biting off the heads of the foosball men. I hate foosball.)

In another dream that seemed to last for hours, I was meticulously cleaning the shower. I scoured every inch of that goddam thing, and every time I was sure I was done, I would find another surprising patch of mildew, or another rogue bit of munge; I was Sisyphus with a scrubby rag. Finally--finally!--I completed my task, and I turned on the shower head to rinse down the stall. As water rinsed away all the soap and muck, I noted with disappointment that the water spray was dislodging what appeared to be peanut brittle from the shower walls, and shards of it ran down with the water and collected near the drain. In what must be the most depressingly upbeat part of this dream, I did not attempt to eat the brittlestuff.

Worst of all was an excessively detailed dream where the wife and I were on vacation; from what I can recall, the setting was some hideous amalgam of Europe and Las Vegas--maybe it was EuroDisney. Anyway, right smack dab in the middle of this vacation, the wife--in the dream--sat me down to casually inform me that she no longer loved me, and would soon be seeking a divorce.

This was, of course, utterly soul-destroying, and in my dream I pleaded and begged and wailed and all but lit myself on fire and so on, while the wife continued to look at me placidly and pityingly, as if she were studying the behavior of a particularly uninteresting paramecium. No, she would reassure me over and over, she had made up her mind. Sorry. I'm gone.

It was one of those perfectly horrifying dreams that, upon waking, you sit up for a panicky moment to make sure, damn sure, that it was just a dream, and when you do assure yourself, the relief floods your system like a narcotic. I sat for a moment, panting, feeling the adrenaline subside, and I thought a bit about the ghastly fucking dream again, its sickly certitude and seemingly self-abrading maliciousness, and I also remember thinking: When the dream-wife was telling me all that, I was feeling shock, and horror, and despair . . . but there was another part of me kind of going, Why is she ruining our vacation?

Speaking of which--and less us not dwell any more on such horrible ideas--the wife and I are indeed going on vacation again. Next Monday evening, we fly out for London for a couple weeks (a side trip to Dublin is already booked), so there will once again be a break in posting while I'm gone. But fear not! I will be back in December with what I hope is many a tale of Ye Olde Merrie and Erin Go BLARG! and all that, as we simply cannot fucking wait to get out of this country, go to some new ones, and then, of course, make fun of them.

Whinging | Skot | 16 Nov, 2004 |

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Comments

Urgh. Glad to hear you're feeling better, Skot. The cold and flu season is just so delightful. Thankfully, working with preschoolers has left me with a fairly strong immune system.

Comment number: 004678   Posted by: CG on November 16, 2004 01:54 AM from IP: 70.19.96.220

When my wife dreams of terrible behavior on my part (like making out with another woman in her presence), she awakes all pissed off at me, and has at times been angry for a day or two.

"But honey, it was just a dream!"

"Yes. But you were such an asshole!"

Comment number: 004679   Posted by: ryan on November 16, 2004 01:20 PM from IP: 165.200.83.213

Just so you know, I'm stealing "the Wet Questing Nose of Anubis". I may rip off other people's material, but I do try to be polite about it.

Comment number: 004682   Posted by: bmarkey on November 16, 2004 04:11 PM from IP: 65.102.165.54

You'll be glad to know that Ireland has just been identified by the august periodical, The Economist, as having the highest standard of living in the world. Take that, you big, arrogant, US jerk.

Stay away from Temple Bar. It's full of Brits.

Comment number: 004684   Posted by: Nick on November 17, 2004 01:43 AM from IP: 192.240.0.204

I meant to add that we have A TOTAL BAN ON SMOKING IN PUBLIC PLACES (and that includes your hotel room, baby). We're not France, you know.

Comment number: 004685   Posted by: Nick on November 17, 2004 01:49 AM from IP: 192.240.0.204

Also, you might try and catch a hurling match when you're in town. The club final is on the 28th. There's a very good chance of sensible violence, plus lots of whacking stuff with sticks. 'Scuse me, wacking sliotars with hurleys. Sliotars and heads and limbs, mostly.

Comment number: 004686   Posted by: Diablevert on November 17, 2004 07:52 AM from IP: 81.98.88.179

So, you get to see people throwing up? Or being bludgeoned with Liz Hurley? Maybe Liz Hurley throwing up?

I could go for bludgeoning Liz Hurley until she throws up.

Comment number: 004687   Posted by: Cat on November 17, 2004 07:54 AM from IP: 208.27.203.128

I meant to add that we have A TOTAL BAN ON SMOKING IN PUBLIC PLACES (and that includes your hotel room, baby).

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

Comment number: 004688   Posted by: Skot on November 17, 2004 07:58 AM from IP: 66.150.9.3


Yup, no smoking anywhere. Madness I tell you.

Plus, bring lots of rain gear and something warm to sit on if you decide to take in a stick-wielding match of highly entertaining and deftly skilled brutality.

Ditto for Temple Bar, completely overrated.

Good pubs – The Long Hall and Mulligans.

Literary Pub Crawl - bit touristy but a good laugh.

Really. I’m not kidding about the rain gear.

The Euro is hideously expensive for Americans at the moment, so try not to pay for absolutely anything while you’re over here.

Don’t trust any European male wearing a baseball cap. They’re all extra-terrestrial thugs who hunt Baptists for sport.

Do not wear your ‘WHO DO I HAVE TO BLOW TO GET A CONFESSION AROUND HERE’ t-shirt out on the street.

No really. I must insist. Rain gear.

If you keep apologising for your President you will eventually get on people’s nerves. Nobody’s really angry about the election over here, just bewildered.

You should enjoy yourself. Dublin is a wonderful city. Although I don’t think I could actually ever go back there to live.

Saludos de Barcelona.

Comment number: 004703   Posted by: The Lung Brothers on November 18, 2004 07:10 AM from IP: 80.58.34.44

I will not sit idly by while you denigrate the proud game of foos-ball, and my fellow gaily-dressed midget loving brethren!

Comment number: 004705   Posted by: Succa on November 18, 2004 03:20 PM from IP: 66.131.7.81

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