Jeez, this happened fast. Two days ago I was complaining about a jerk with some unfortunate opinions, but I was healthy as I did it. Now all of a sudden I’m a mess; sore throat, stuffed up in most every orifice, generally fatigued. It’s just not fair. Maybe the man who left that comment on Goldstar (but your tickets here) is a witch, and has cursed me with his written words. Or maybe I’ve created the illness myself, as sort of psychosomatic reaction. Or maybe I’m really sick. Doesn’t matter, really. All I can do is hope I’m in good enough shape to Barfée it up tomorrow night.
Being sick is a real bummer, huh? Honestly, I don’t have a whole lot to write in this space. I’m tired and I have no patience for the blog this evening. But I’ll do it anyway. By telling a story about the last time I was sick. A story that most of you have probably heard more than once already. You guys can stop reading now. Thanks for the page view.
About a year and a half ago (right around the time of Fraggled Productions’ run of Urinetown) I was out for a birthday celebration that involved drinking boba tea. It was a fun evening, mostly because the staff members were convinced that my friend Chris – one of the stars of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee – was Jeremy Piven. None of this has anything to do with the rest of the story, but I find it funny.
The next day I go to work as normal. I’m still riding the bus at this point, waking up around 5:15 am to get down to South Central by 7. It is a regular day, until around lunch. I brought in pulled pork and some bread – to make a sandwich! – but all of a sudden I have no appetite. I continue about my daily business, slowly feeling worse and worse.
One of my former duties at the education-related institute where I work was to collect the students who had done something bad during the day. They were to stay late. We called this “detention.” So I gather my detentioneers, and as we walked toward their fate, a sudden lurch signals an impressing event within my body. I turn to my co-worker Jorge, asking if he can take it from here.
I stumble into the staff bathroom and my body performs an action quite opposite from the one I had attempted a couple hours earlier during lunch. Whoever is in the adjoining restroom (I never found out her identity) shrieks as I expel what my body deemed unnecessary. Relief. For now.
I flop onto the couch in the teachers’ lounge (it’s actually a collaboration room, rather than a technical teachers’ lounge – it’s a whole thing) covered in sweat. I think I sleep for a few minutes before an administrator grants me permission to leave. Thanks, I guess.
But here’s the problem. I am bus-bound. At first it seems like everything is going to be okay (can you sense the foreshadowing?). I get several blocks away from school, and then that familiar lurch returns. Luckily we’re at a bus stop. But wait, the doors are closing. Do I really need to get off? I think I’ll be okay. The doors close. I’m not okay. “Back door!” I shout as I rise from my seat. The driver acquiesces, allowing me to exit the vehicle just as I expel once again on the sidewalk. It’s rough. But what’s rougher is when I look up and find one of my students, Mr. Palaez, watching me.
Mr. Palaez is a quiet boy. At this point I don’t think I’ve ever had a conversation with him, but my perception is that he is pretty nice. My hypothesis is confirmed moments later when Mr. Palaez hands me a stack of napkins. Turns out the nice patch of sidewalk I just ruined leads right up to where Mr. Palaez’s parents sell tacos.
I’m at a loss now. I thank Mr. Palaez and begin an uncertain journey. It is clear to me now that the bus will not be a viable option, so I try to figure out my next best move. Then I remember: I’m in South Central! USC is right there! I’m no longer a student there, but at least it is a familiar environment. I can get my bearings.
So I walk a mile to USC campus. I only expel once during this time.
As I sit on a staircase, physically and emotionally exhausted, I begin to take stock of my options. I call my roommates, neither of whom answer. Boy, that’s about it as far as my choices go. And then I remember that magical word: Zipcar. Zipcar rents cars to the less fortunate on an hourly basis. It is a bit of a rip-off, but I already have an account and no other options. I sure as hell can’t sit on these bricks for the rest of the day.
Luckily there is an available Zipcar relatively close. I shuffle over to a nearby parking garage and find my new friend. I have a car, I know how to get home. My only mission now is to get there without throwing up. Best not use the freeway, eh?
As I drive slowly on the surface streets my mind drifts back to a Phillip K. Dick story I recently read. Ubik is about a group of psychics who find themselves in a race against time and death. The less fortunate members of the group rapidly dehydrate and fall apart. I begin to worry that this is what is happening to me. Uh oh. Delirium has set in.
But I’m almost home. Forget Phillip K. Dick for now. I pull up in front of the apartment building (rarely does one find such a primo parking spot). I open the door triumphantly – and immediately expel on the street next to my feet. I honestly don’t care anymore at this point. I race up to my apartment, and jump into my bed, being careful to place a bucket near the head of my bed.
It’s not necessary, though. I don’t throw up again. Instead I sleep for 18 hours and feel fine the next day. Whatever that bug was, it got in and then got out. At least I can be grateful for its expediancy.
My current predicament is nothing compared to that day. No expelling of any kind – outside of your standard expulsions. No, the only real concern in this case is the musical (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at the Cupcake Theatre, don’t ya know). In less than 24 hours I’ll be singing and dancing regardless of how I feel on the inside. Because I’m a professional. Suck on that, Goldstar guy.
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