Sunday, October 04, 2009

Coughing it Up

Our little family of three does just fine with my new working mom gig as long as nothing disrupts the precarious timing balance we've so carefully constructed. As long as Jeff doesn't have an early meeting, as long as Theo doesn't wake up too early and disrupt my shower, as long as I don't have to stay late at the office. But then I went on a business trip last week.

I got home late Sunday evening after starting my trip with a canceled flight (and an exchange with an airline employee that was really just unrivaled in its rudenes. And the rudness was not mine, for once). But I was happy to have made it home and fell into bed, got up and went to work, and just about collapsed in a heap at 10am when I realized it was only MONDAY and OMG THERE ARE FOUR MORE DAYS OF THIS.

When I'm in my little routine, I spend Sunday evenings getting my clothes ready (I almost typed "ironing my clothes" but who am I fooling), figuring out lunches and dinners for the week, and going over the day care pick-up and drop-off schedule with Jeff. So without that structural safety net I found myself eating BBQ potato chips and Twizzlers I found in my desk drawer at lunchtime while sweating through an inappropriately-wintry turtleneck. But the turtleneck was clean at least, because I chose clean over seasonal.

All three of us have some version of a cough/runny nose/day care pestilence, so I've also been contending with fearful looks from bystanders as I hack up a lung. I feel like I should hand out anti-bacterial wipes everywhere I go. I'll admit, sometimes I cough right into my hand instead of into my elbow, and sometimes I don't wash my hands immediately after wiping my nose. It's hard when you're sitting in the middle seat on an airplane. But I am sick and tired of and, well, getting downright pissed off about, people's reactions to my condition. Let's be clear here: I do not have a fever. I do not have chills. I am not oinking. I just have a cold and a cough and when I get a cough it tends to last for a long time. And I'm not sure exactly what I'm supposed to do about that besides politely stuff my face into my elbow when I feel a cough coming on. Stay in my house for the six weeks it takes for me to stop coughing? Wear a surgical mask?

I am too lazy to expand this little rant into a well-constructed argument about the media and "news" and how the public has been not-subtly convinced to fear illness over the years and now we're all judging one another for our germs. But you get my drift. On the other hand, I am sympathetic to health concerns, I have a freaking toddler for goodness' sake. I have allergy-induced asthma. I know we have to take a health threat like H1N1 seriously.

But let's just all calm down, please. Please. Deep breath.

I feel much better now.

And as long as I'm going on and on about whatever is on the top of my head, let me send you to a couple of things I've been enjoying lately:

Penelope Trunk is always interesting and I'm finding her latest series on Asperger's Syndrome in the workplace really fascinating. She also just angered a whole lot of people, using 140 characters or less, and in a way that is sparking all kinds of conversations. Check her out.

Have you read The Unlikely Disciple? Speaking of controversy, it's a book about religion and sex and Jerry Falwell and college. I'm only about 1/3 through and I can't put it down.

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