I've been sick for the last couple of days. Unfortunately, life as a freelancer means no sick days, and my various amalgamation of part-times jobs don't offer PTO or otherwise, so being sick borders on a nuisance to a full-on financial crisis if I'm Unable to Get Stuff Done (thankfully this hasn't happened yet, as I'm always able to shackle myself to the computer in any state.)
Yesterday at the gym I was sniffling like an Olsen twin leaving the bathroom at Mood when a friend said to me don't you miss being sick as a kid? Your mom would tuck you into bed and bring the TV in the bedroom and feed you chicken soup and crackers all day?
Apparently I know people who were raised by the Cleavers.
SlackMom didn't work outside the home, so when we were sick, she was there to take care of us. Or I should say, when we were sick, we were there. All. Day. Anyone who's ever worked at home knows what it's like to have the place to yourself all day. You dress in the clothes in the pile closest to the bed, which sometimes results in your grocery shopping in PJ's and combat boots. Hair brushing is optional.
Another friend of mine, a working actress, confessed to me that she was worried she and her fiance would break up after he was on hiatus from the show he was working on. He'll be...here, she told me. HERE! This is my apartment!
At the first complaint of a scratchy throat or a febrile forehead, SlackMom would call our bluff and suggest that we should just try to walk it off. Go to school, she'd say, and if you still feel bad, go to the nurse. Going to the nurse was a major pain in the ass, so you'd usually just suck it up and make it through school.
As I reached high school, I suddenly found myself attending school when I was sick because I had things to do. There was play practice and set building and costumers to talk to, there were Forensics (Speech Team) coaching sessions and honors classes and staying home just wasn't an option. So I'd head in, attend the classes I'd need, sleep in the Student Council office for classes I didn't (Mrs. Bennett had us reading Le Petit Prince for six full months.)
However, this eventually caught up to me - not that I got in trouble, mind you - even though my high school took attendance in every single class, you only needed to be an honor student with an honest face and handwriting that looked just like your mother's to release you from the bonds of World History.
No, my senior year found me hocking up a lung on the day that my Honors Calculus class was to take some sort of standardized test that was going to prove we were smartypants and supposedly get the school additional funding. While I didn't always enjoy my high school experience, I didn't hate it. I pulled on a pair of combat boots over my PJ bottoms and was ready to go.
SlackMom handed me a large commuter mug on my way out. Whatever you do, don't drink this while you're driving.
I sniffed the mug. Is that...?
Yup. Just sip, she instructed me.
I hopped in my black and red '84 Firebird (yes, my actual car) and drove the mile to school.
My fellow math nerds congregated in front of Glenbard West's auditorium, where we were scheduled to take the test. I gingerly sipped from my commuter mug. The liquid first burned my throat, then was oddly comforting.
SlackMom had made me a hot toddy.
A friend of mine (I don't remember who, so speak up if it was you) asked is that...?
Before she could finish, the Calculus teacher - who once told me to "tap dance up to the blackboard" to solve a problem - swooped down on us.
What is that?
I'm sick, I croaked. It's medicinal.
I waited for her to threaten to send me to the Principal's office. Or call my mother.
But instead she said
No drinks are allowed in the auditorium, she warned me. So finish it.
I looked at my friend and shrugged. If you insist.
I chugged the hot beverage as fast as I could.
And took the Illinois State High School Standardized Math Test half in the bag.
For those of you who came out - and by came out, I mean sat in the comfort of your own home avec a frosty beverage and sans pants to watch Saturday night's BetheMarriage LIVE! (On Ice!) (highlights coming forthwith, the archived episode in its entirety can be seen here), you'll know that the chatroom was joined by someone who figures prominently in the slackmistress archives.
I like to tell lies. This is supposedly a terrible thing, but the way that I live with myself is that
a) I'm awesome, and
b) they're not the sort of lies that would really, truly hurt a human being. I'm not misleading the public or terrorizing young children (well, not much. There was that whole Santa-as-a-Vampire thing. )
I don't know why I like to tell tall tales except that it's something that I've always done just do see if people would believe me. When I was eight years old, my local grammar school shut down and I had to go to Ben Franklin School which was twice as far away. Everyone else from my old school went to Lincoln, so I was a new girl in a new school who knew no one. My first year, I convinced a girl that I was supposed to be born a puppy. Maybe it was my delivery, maybe it was my know-it-all demeanor, or maybe we were just nine years old and that makes sense, but she bought it.
The next year everyone discovered that SlackMom's first language wasn't English but Russian, which led to rumours that we were communists (which incidentally, were also spread in my previous school.) So I just told everyone that my parents were spies. Which again, everyone believed. (Although a year later I realized that the whole point of spying was that you were supposed to be covert, meaning that your nine-year-old probably shouldn't be running her mouth off at school. Clearly my security clearance had been revoked.)
Now it's twenty-five (eeek) years later and I've turned my love of fabrication into a sometimes-career. But I still like to retain my amateur status:
Even our Saturday Night Chats do nothing to dispel the following:
What're some of the biggest whoppers you've told?
If you've been hiding under a rock (with our furry friend), you might not know that things have been stressful around the Detective Agency for the past few weeks. Crazy pasts, uncertain futures, and an overwhelming desire to pack up our things and Daisy the Wonderdog and set the whole place on fire.
Needless to say, the sexin' has not been going on.
Last night was a peek back into normalcy - or what passes for normalcy in our lives. A date over margaritas, a football game, and a return to our house without talk of matches and kerosene for the first time in nearly a week. I got ready for bed and instructed Will not to stay up to late.
I was intent on knockin' myself off a piece.
Will crawled under the covers a few minutes after I did.
You know what the best feeling in the world is? he asked me.
I smiled. This is usually followed up with some expression of love, of desire, of holy-crap-I-can't-believe-I-married-you.
I waited. He continued.
Pooping at work.
It's like, you're there but no one knows where you are. No one can ask you to do anything. You just go to a different floor and you poop. In peace. He sighed contentedly.
You are never getting laid again.