Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Interacting While Sick

I have a cold and I have had a cold since Wednesday of last week (although it really hit full force Thursday evening). I have made 7 days with this stupid thing and by all reports this particular cold is a lingerer. The first few days were terrible. I was achy and exhausted but I went and did stuff I needed to do. I had no real option. It was in these first few days of my cold that I had an encounter that made me wonder about people's lack of tact and compassion. Let me explain. I was waiting in an area where a group would congregate and a meeting of some sort would take place (I am being vague on purpose). I set myself as far away from people as possible and told the people I usually sit by "Hey I have a cold so keep a protective bubble around yourself." Anyway this was before most of these people showed. I was the third person there. I had a few sneezes that I had tissues all prepared for, if I coughed I did so in a tissue. Luckily it was not the coughing part of the cold yet, that is happening now. I was just sneezy which is always heaviest in the beginning of the cold for me. Anyway I sneezed while I was getting a tissue out of one of those small packs (I had 4 small packs in my pocket). The sneeze was real loud and powerful but combined with the plastic of the tissue pack it was also high pitched. You see I had been trying to get the tissue out in preparation when, without sufficient warning, a sneeze hit me. I covered my face in the attempt to keep my germs away from those around me. The 2 people made fun of the high pitched sneeze as I went to make sure I had nothing on me and wash my hands. I came back to the room and sat down. From then on I had tissues out of the package way before I even needed them, in fact I think I sneezed like once more. That had sucked, I had learned a lesson. Anyway, like ten minutes later, while I was staring at a text message on my phone (I was really early) one of the 2 people asked "Wait.... are you sick?"

To which I said "Yeah." As honesty is always an option for any question. Plus I was way too sick to offer a clever remark.

What do you think her response was? Here is a multiple choice selection.

A. Oh, that sucks. Hope you get better soon.
B. Maybe you could see about skipping the meeting and going home early.
C. Stay away from me!
D. Well, you better cover your mouth if you cough or sneeze!
E. I love the Mets!

Maybe this will help you guess the right answer. My response was a stunned smile.... the kind where you have no response because what the person said was not only self centered but also amazingly insulting. The response was D.... and good try to those that missed it. It wasn't C because although it is self centered it is not really terribly insulting. It wasn't A or B because there was no chance of compassion causing me to silently stew over this for days. It wasn't E because I have yet to meet a Mets fan, and as a result, I have concluded that they don't in fact exist. It's like saying you know Bigfoot...

Back to the response. Here is why it is insulting. First of all I am not a 5 year old. Second of all part of the reason she asked was because I have a tissue in my hand and had just used it to cover my mouth for a half cough (meaning the kind where you cough like once but it isn't the full fledged forceful cough nor is it a coughing fit). Third, she saw me sneeze in to my hand and on a package of pocket tissues (and mocked me afterward). I am doing everything I can to keep the germs near me. I am not sitting close to her. I am also covering my mouth and nose because I am, in fact, an adult. So I smiled because I was hoping she was teasing me and also because I was stunned by her comment (knowing instinctively that she was not kidding).

Of course the smile got me a lecture as to why it was paramount that she avoid getting a cold. She mistook my stunned smile as a sarcastic reply. I was on cough medicine! I am not all that good at sarcasm when most of my brain is in the clouds! I was just going through the steps I usually take on a Friday night, perhaps I should have plead to skip the meeting or something but I did not even think of it until nearly three days later. That is what I mean, cough syrup puts me in cruise control. I almost need someone saying "Hey you look terrible. Go home and go to bed and come back for Monday's meeting." To which I would say "OK" and my cruise control would take me to the car and get me home. Later I would think "Why didn't I think of that?" Anyway this girl had very good reasons to want to avoid getting sick. Of course, who doesn't? Being sick sucks and is very inconvenient. What other reason do you need? It wasn't like I had went over and licked her or that I had even sat near her. I avoid people when I am sick as much as possible. Just ask the people I felt I could cancel with... the volunteer gigs. I have only went to the places I had to go since Thursday afternoon; the paying job and school. I emailed and contacted the various volunteer gigs and canceled my scheduled time for the day. I don't want to get people sick. I do admit this particular girl has a lot going on in the next month or two that requires her to not be sick. More so then the average person but why be rude about it? Why assume I am an idiot or a cretin? Or a maroon!? (thank you Bugs Bunny)

Maybe I am totally blowing this out of proportion, I am a little whiny because of this stupid cold. However, my whininess doesn't mean that I am not right. The whole thing could have been handled better. The best part is this particular person is a bit of a hypocrite. She dragged her dumb butt there when she was sick a month before. What is with the attitude when I do the same thing? Did I give you attitude? No all I said was "That sucks. Get better soon." You know the saying about kicking someone while there down? I just don't get it. Were is Miss Manners when I need her? Where the heck have all the "polishing schools" gone??? We could all really use them!


Robert said...

I knew a Mets fan - Cary my old boss from Aetna Financial.

Michael Williams said...

Sure you did... And your neighbor is a Yeti!

Robert said...

Close, his last name is Yetinavinch, so we call him Yeti for short.

Michael Williams said...

Ha! Awesome. Say hi to Yeti for me!