I hope this blog will go through a sort of resurrection, as I recover from a long-term case of the sniffles.
The ailment wasn’t all that bad but left me wrung out, tired, and annoyed. In some ways I would have been better off if it was worse, for then I might have had an excuse to just stay in bed. As it was I kept pushing myself to do just the minimum, which perhaps was unwise.
It is simply in my psychic make-up to battle, especially if my thermometer shows I have no fever, and I have no symptoms other than a runny nose, (and a general feeling of being run down.)
I did all the right things, skipping my beer and eating more salads and sleeping more, but it seemed to have no effect. I was a bit congested when I awoke, but what bothered me much more was: Being brainless.
I’m not sure what the glue is that holds my ideas together, but whatever it is, it was gone. Rather than any sort of gestalt there was just a lot of “disconnect.” Where I ordinarily have a blast plucking stray details like flowers, and bunching them together as a sort of thought-bouquet, something crucial was missing.
A vase? Heck if I could figure out what it was. My mind simply wasn’t making sense of things, and I could only assume the sniffles had my mental energy at low ebb.
After a while I got fed up and decided to pretend I was younger, and attempted to “sweat it off,” by working very hard. I grabbed my eight-pound maul after work and whaled away at some rock maple logs, splitting wood until I had to use the handle to hold myself upright like a cane, and was huffing and puffing. As soon as I caught my breath I went right back to work, until I had a pretty impressive hoard of split wood in the back of my tired, old pickup truck.
Rather than getting hot and sweaty I just felt cold, so I drove the wood home and loaded up the stove. It was seventy in the house, and I felt suspicious about how cold I was, so I took my temperature. It was 100.6.
Apparently my “cure” backfired. However now at least had an excuse to go to bed. Also my brain was producing some interesting connections. Unfortunately the aspirin I gobbled did its job, and by the next morning my temperature was back below normal, at 96.8, and my mind was below normal as well. So I was back to where I started, trudging off to work, doing the bare minimum.
Of course, with taxes due, you can’t just sit back and recover. The IRS doesn’t take kindly to dawdling. However every time I got all the papers spread out company would arrive, and I’d have to clear the dining room table. (Not that I mind having an excuse to procrastinate; doing taxes is a huge waste of America’s mental energy, as well as its time and money, and there are few jobs I like doing less.)
In any case, I’d spread out the papers after work and look at them, awaiting some activity in my skull. My brains responded, “Duh?” They couldn’t even make sense out of what I enjoy, so they went on strike when confronted with what I loath.
This was especially exasperating because I want the damn taxes done and behind me…Just like I want the sniffles done and behind me…Just like I want the winter done and behind me.
Despite the approach of Easter, winter wasn’t done. The wind stayed from the north, where it has been stuck for weeks, and despite storms missing us to the south we’d gets squalls of snow, followed by a sun beating down from as high as it is on Labor Day Weekend at the beach, though the thermometer only read 48. This would boom up the next cloud, and next flurry, which would drop the temperature to 36.
Usually I am taking the kids at our Childcare on hikes by now, or even planting peas. This year the snow is too deep and has become too sodden; even where paths were packed the firmness is gone. On a few south-facing slopes bare ground shows, but the wet snow is still over a foot deep elsewhere. The patches of bare ground are frozen, not far below the surface, forming a barrier, which keeps water from draining down, and keeping the top few inches of dirt as oozy mud. Go for a hike? Forget it, especially when I have the sniffles.
I spent much of last week sitting at a picnic table in our playground, about as listless as I ever get, watching the kids run around, and going through lots of Kleenex, wiping their copiously productive noses, and also mine. (You are suppose to wash your hands every single time you blow a nose, but also are not allowed to leave children unsupervised even for an instant.) (I use hand-sanitizer, and have one pocket full of clean tissues and another full of wadded filth, but I also have a strong feeling that sanitation with children is an exercise in futility.)
I tried to just sit at the table and to allow them to work out their problems on their own, but they don’t like that. I am the Judge, even when I am in no mood to judge.
I am licensed to watch over twelve preschool kids, and even at their young age they know what the rules are. I know they know, because they come to me righteously indignant about some other kid breaking a rule. In fact, they remind me of a bunch of very short lawyers, at times. And then, (not only when I’m feverish and sniffling,) they remind me of the twelve tribes of Israel, at the start of “Judges” in the Bible. They have been given their commandments, but utterly blow keeping them.
Sometimes it is fun, being a judge. Children under the age of seven are far more open minded, when it comes to rules and laws, than adults are, and at times the conversations that get going make me think children see truths adults have forgotten.
Last week, however, I was in no mood to judge. They knew what the rules were; why didn’t they just follow the bleeping rules? Of course, it was absurd to think like that when dealing with children so small, but I had the sniffles and was sick of the whole business. It isn’t always easy, being a Child Care Professional.
At this point the situation reminded be a bit of the start of “Kings” in the Bible. People who could be free and independent, if only they could govern themselves, abdicate from that responsibility, and insist they would rather be bossed about by a king. The kids kept bringing their issues to me despite the fact sniffles made me more like King Saul than King David.
Of course, it is part of the job. Kids constantly demand education, and when they whine, “He did this! But she did that! He started it! No way; she did!” they want some social education, so you do your best. (This also is a good reason to go on a hike, or get them busy with another activity that absorbs them in things other than “social education.”)
Usually I find the task engrossing, but last week I’d had enough. It reminded me too much of adults. Rather than a happy marriage there is an ugly divorce. Rather than a job well done there are exploiting bosses and greedy unions. People know the law is, “Love thy neighbor,” but do they obey that law?
This sort of thinking splices into Easter, because when the Israelites made such a complete mess of governing themselves that they were ruled by foreign Romans, they finally did get their Messiah, and promptly killed him, for telling the Truth.
Don’t worry. I don’t have a Messiah complex, nor do I think little children really want to kill me for laying down the law, (though I sometimes do get some murderous glances.)
However I do get tired of it all. It seems humanity will never grow up. It is like a night with no dawn, a winter with no spring, sniffles that never will end.
I look in the mirror and wonder if maybe I’m past it. Maybe these sniffles won’t end. Maybe it is time to hand over the reins. After all, we do get old.
Right at this point I got an email from my oldest brother. He’s seven years older than I, and I tend to study him to see what he’s learned about aging, especially because he is full of youth, and fresh ideas, has been a lifelong bachelor and free spirit. I figure his transition towards doddering will be interesting.
The email informed me I should expect him to become more serious and responsible, because he is going to have his first child, a son, this August.
(When I told a friend of mine this news, his jaw dropped, and he exclaimed, “He’s having a kid at age sixty-seven! At that age I won’t even be getting a new Dog!”)
In any case, it put me to shame for whining so much about my sniffles, and about having to temporarily watch twelve kids. It is time to drop my Good Friday darkness, and adopt an Easter attitude.
After all, according to the Book of Matthew it was not merely Lord Jesus who rose from the dead: “The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs and after Jesus’ resurrection went into the holy city and appeared to many people.”
(A good plot for a zombie movie?)
Drat. Here I thought I’d come up with a good excuse to start doddering.
Instead….well, this blog could get interesting.