Tag Archives: sleeping

The Summer Flu: Whoa Is Me


My excuse for blogging late about the family reunion:

Upon returning from the family reunion, I edited a resume for a friend, felt sort of funny, went for a run, and then felt really really sick. I didn’t know how sick I felt until I got into bed and discovered that any amount of pressure applied to any part of my body felt extremely uncomfortable — I won’t say painful because I know there are more painful things than the aches and pains associated with the flu, but I will assure you that it was uncomfortable. In any case, being the incredibly logical tired sick person that I was, I stayed in bed and contemplated the horrors of my existence for most of the night. It seemed impossible to get up and take medication because I was sure I would end up accidentally mixing acetaminophen and ibuprofen and then die immediately. Or that I would take ibuprofen and start throwing up with vehemence for failing to take it with food. The trip upstairs to procure food and the right type of medicine was obviously out of the question. It was too far and I was either much too hot or much too cold to get out of bed. So I languished.

The next morning my mother turned into a guilt monster because she was convinced she had caused the illness by encouraging me to run the day before. Fortunately, I had planned to run anyway and it really wasn’t her fault and I had logic on my side. Still, she needed to recuperate her sense of motherhood and so she became convinced I had malaria. This was remotely possible because we did go to India together about a month ago, but remote is the right word to describe the likelihood. She called the health department and described the situation, while I took medication and slept. They said the symptoms sounded a lot like a flu that was going around and that it was highly unlikely I had malaria. They also mentioned that there wouldn’t be much to do in the meantime if it was malaria because it would take some time to determine this with certainty. Best course of action: rest and drink clear fluids.

I was really clear on the resting part and stayed asleep for about 48 hours.

When I woke up on the third day feeling mostly refreshed if a little groggy, my mother was on the phone with my sister discussing the illness that it was now clear my brother-in-law was also suffering. My family had decided that my sister’s two-year-old son was probably the contagion-carrier, and that both my brother-in-law and I had been exposed to him at approximately the same time. My sister, the pediatrician, informed my mother that we probably had foot and mouth virus, which results in blister-like rashes on the hands and feet as well as on the back of the throat. My mother told me to sit on the floor so she could see my feet (she was already examining my hands). And my father got the flashlight so they could examine the back of my throat, which was hurting, but not ridden with blisters. At this point, they determine I don’t have any blisters, but they’re not about to be thwarted and they discuss strep throat for a few more minutes before the hang up. Then my father gets online to check the rest of the foot and mouth symptoms before he moves on to the possibility of mono — because I have been asleep for about 48 hours — and as I stand up from the kitchen floor, he approaches and begins poking my spleen, which, he informs me, would hurt if I had mono.

I then felt the need to say, “Mom, Dad, I’m fine. I had the flu. I feel a lot better today. I’m going to take a nap and when I wake up, I will feel awesome.”

Or something like that.

And now they think it’s funny too. Although, as my Dad put it, “maybe not laugh out loud funny.”




Step up or back. Step right –
Step into gray.
Stay asleep. Hide.
Stay away. But not unfound.
Not too far.

Under shocked white –
whiter than clouds in the Big Sky –
greener than fresh
cut sharp hay –
blacker than moonlit Stillwater, oiled
I am waiting.

My sweat drying, a shower delayed,
I await varicose veins
burn my throat
on alcohol, unidentified.
Peer through the ground floor
window; step up.
Dream in shades of white
oiled and cut; stay asleep.

Not too far.



Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.  – Gloria Steinem

Once, I heard someone say that all the greatest artists were druggies. This person was not talking to me, but in my overhearing, I began to wonder; is any artistic destiny I may have had now ruined because my parents were anti-LSD?

I have only ever gotten high twice—really high once. Neither experience seemed to lend itself to me becoming especially artistically talented. This may in part be related to the fact that I spent most of the first time throwing up and most of the second time sleeping.

But here’s my theory: Without regard to drugs, artists are dreamers.

I have a feeling that sometimes, they lose control, and that then their minds run away with them, tumbling down conspicuously green knolls in a torrential rain that serves the exceptional purpose of joining the soul and the body in a moment of time when genius can grab hold long enough to be formulated into expression, escaping and astonishing all of the rest of us who somehow missed the appropriate moment to tumble. I have a feeling that these are gripping falls, and totally unwieldy.

If it is true that my mind has engaged in this sort of diving and utterly accidental descent, then I submit to you that it is a dream-like state—not in the moment, but after it.

Artists are daydreamers and night sweaters, zoner-outers and sleeper-inners. They have a release button for their brains that works like automatic pilot on a space ship. What that actually means, though, is that it never really works, it’s like Start Trek; always supposed to work seamlessly and always requires that you take over and fly manually at the last minute. So artists press the release button, thinking that it’s just time to let go, let the muse in and their consciousness out, and all of a sudden they are sucked into the driver’s seat, trying to steer while speeding like hell down the Audubon, not even sure how they ended up in Germany.

Until recently, I really wanted nothing to do with the Artist title. Art is now offensively melodramatic for its intentional egotism. Over and over, it is the articulation of the selfish experience. I always wanted to be more than a youthful, rebellious title. And it’s not that art has always been this way; its history is audacious. It has predicted and participated in dramatic shifts of social consciousness. I believe in Don Quixote and Frida Kahlo, Little Women and Picasso.

It may be that the proliferation of self-examination made me a cynic. It may be that I simply cannot resolve the dissonance of Maya Angelou and me, sharing a descriptive term.

In any case, I am sure of one thing. They weren’t all just trippin. I don’t buy it.

(Rules for) Living Life on the Lime (5)


A)    Bring a raincoat to Scotland. (Maybe also an umbrella.)

B)    Consider coming up with the best nickname you can imagine, and then multiply it by ten.

  1. Because that is what Truck is.
  2. It is the most useful and versatile. (The following is a list of examples compiled by Robbie.)

i.     Parties = Monster Truck Rallies

ii.     Being driven home = Towing the Truck

iii.     Being unable to drive home = Having 4 Flat Tires

iv.     His Bedroom = the Garage

v.     Hitting on girls = Revving the Engine

C)    Write at least one love letter in your life.

D)    When traveling across many time zones over a series of flights, never eat cheese tortellini and always heed your mother’s advice.

  1. For example, bring plenty of cash.
  2. For another example, sleep in the preceding days.

This message is brought to you by Two Bums in the Air, your source for everything darling.

(Rules for) Living Life on the Lime (2)


A)    Never push another person into a body of water if you yourself would prefer not to be pushed into the body of water as well.

B)    When riding in one of the many back seats in a fifteen-passenger van on a two-lane highway (paved or unpaved), consider sleeping in acrobatic positions or reading “The Brothers K” by David James Duncan. If you don’t, you may begin to feel unpleasant both because fifteen-passenger vans make people carsick and because two-lane highways lend themselves to hazardous passing practices by experienced drivers who think themselves and their passengers as exceptions in the possibility of death.

  1. Other reading material is probably acceptable but I can only speak for TBK by DJD.
  2. It may also be helpful to provide a running commentary about your own perspectives on driving-in-general to your neighbor.

C)    Pick raspberries wearing long sleeves. Or face the consequences.

D)   Remember that pregnant women can smell you, even from a great distance.

This Living-Life-on-the-Lime message is brought to you by Adolescents in the Outdoors