I can tell I’ve been feeling a bit jaded because the other day I saw a friend had written a status about how they were consigned to bed with the tail-end of a horrible stomach flu, and I thought “you lucky cow”.
I read it with the same sort of sniffiness that other women read people’s statuses about losing loads of weight or having to take a job in Dubai even thought they really don’t want to because it’s almost too much cash. That sort of “Keep the bragging to yourself, love” type reaction. I glazed over and imagined the utter bliss of being stuck in bed for three days. Being forcibly pushed down under the covers by my boyfriend, saying “if you even think of getting up and jeopardising your health, I will break up with you. Now drink this perfectly made cup of tea and stow these emergency biscuits under your pillow for god’s sake. I’m going to make you a ‘get better, darling’ cake as quick as I can”.
I began picturing the big stack of books I would keep by the bed, to flick through between naps. I could reread Harry Potter; all of them. I mentally highlighted the series on Netflix that people keep telling me I should watch, but which I never do. For instance, I have never even watched an episode of 24 or Lost. The whole world turned on that stuff for a while and I couldn’t tell you one thing about them except that Lost was a thrilling race against time and 24 was about being stuck on a desert island. I could finally put this right. I could watch Kiefer Sutherland weaving bamboo huts for his fellow crash victims. Finally.
I began wondering how I might invoke such wondrous affliction, such bliss. I found myself wondering if I ate some raw chicken or licked the fox wee off the bins whether I would be plunged into some kind of impotent fever that would buy me a week of horizontal liberty. Something so awful that I couldn’t type a word. A rare strain of malaria of the fingers, or gastro interitis of the eyeballs so I wouldn’t be able to do all the things I usually do, like read and write. What have those things ever done for me, anyway? I didn’t even want the physical facility to be able to surf ebay for a chaise longue upon which to see out the spell of my infirmity. I just wanted my normal bed with the gathering squeak, my usual covers, my dog lying on my feet, and the promise of nothing for the next few days. Absolute nothingness.
Then I realised I could probably just get one of those colouring books for adults that are all the rage, or a Mindfulness download or something rather than barfing up a lung for 36 hours or wheezing with a rejuvenated strand of an historical ailment after licking a Victorian lamp in an antique shop. There are other ways to rest, aren’t there. I just am not sure what they are. Even when I’m asleep I seem to ruin it with dreams about being murdered in a haunted house or pets dying or Sting being my Dad. That’s not rest, that’s the ring of Hell that Dante left out because he didn’t want to put his readership off completely.
I suppose what I’m really trying to say is that any of you want to bundle me into a plane to your villa in the Andalucian hills under strict instructions to make full use of your artisan cook there who is just going to waste, I wouldn’t kick up a fuss over the intervention.