I hate colds. It sounds like a funny thing to hate out of all of the horrible illnesses that one can catch, but I hate them. Like fear, they are the mind-killer. Sure, most illnesses are, but what distinguishes colds and gives them a special place of ire in my heart is that nobody thinks of them as a big deal. If you get the flu, people respond by encouraging you to rest: “Take a day off work, sleep, and I hope you feel better soon, poor thing.”
Colds, though, are insidious. You don’t even want to admit you have one because you know the response will be indifferent at best. “It’s just a cold. Drink some orange juice and get to it.”
If there is anything that a cold isn’t, though, it’s just. A cold doesn’t care about your plans, and it can strike in any season. It lies in wait like a microscopic thief that comes in the night to steal all your faculty of thought and replace it with a scratchy throat and a general feeling of misery. “Malaise,” the medical field calls it, and it sounds suspiciously like depression so nobody wants to admit to it. Once it comes, it sticks around for the better part of a week, and the entire time most people just shrug their shoulders and encourage you to “muscle through.” If you get any quarter, it’s that you get to excuse your lack of productivity with, “I was sick.”
I don’t like half-doing anything, and I always feel like colds force me to half-do things. Maybe the reason it’s acceptable to muscle through is that there are plenty of people who don’t mind as much. Or maybe it’s the opposite, that if you aren’t on your deathbed you’re expected to get your butt to work. I don’t know.
I have a cold, in case you haven’t guessed. I’m going to go lay down now.