Monday, September 29, 2008

There's nothing romantic about it

My undergraduate advisor was also one of my favorite English professors--a 40-something woman who seemed to me, then, like she had it all: intellect, humor, common sense, and a bold eye for fashion (she had a pair of purple leather pants that she, and only she, could get away with wearing). As a professor now myself, I often am struck by how much of what I do in the classroom is still deeply influenced by the teachers I had as an undergrad, and especially by her.

Recently, though, I've been reconsidering one of my mentor's proclamations. At one point in a class, she remarked that there was nothing better than being sick and lying in bed reading Proust's Remembrance of Things Past. I remember her raving on about the decadence of illness, and how doubly wonderful it was to wallow in one's misery while reading about someone else's. It made having a chronic, long-term illness sound like something to look forward to, a bibliophile's dream.

I still haven't gotten around to reading Proust, but I can tell you that I know that it would probably be the last thing I'd pick up if I were wasting away. For the last month now, I've been fighting off some kind of upper-respiratory bug that just will not go away. If it were just a case of the sniffles, that'd be fine with me--or if it were some massive case of bronchitis that forced me to stay in bed and sleep for days on end, that would be OK, too.

But this is one of those middle-ground things, where you feel like complete and utter shite, but not bad enough to take to your bed. The coughing and laryngitis don't even bother me, really. It's the damn brain fog that's driving me completely insane. I constantly feel like I'm about five beats behind, sometimes more. I'm confused, disorganized, unfocused, and dull--all things that I hate to be even temporarily, much less for four weeks straight.

So, shut your pie-holes, Proust and Professor Know-it-all. There's nothing good about feeling bad.

4 comments:

Michael said...

"Brain fog" would seem to be exactly why comfort movies and TV-seasons on DVD were made. I pop on Sound of Music when I'm sick like that and it usually helps. (Of course, it helps even more if you really have taken to your bed and can concentrate on nothing but how everyone in her life will solve a problem like Maria.)

historiann said...

I vote for re-runs of Reno 911. Why think at all, if you can help it?

Jane Kokernak said...

Only hypochondriacs find illness decadent. And only someone who really doesn't feel that badly would read Proust on a sick day.

The rest of us are watching movies, reruns of Roseanne and the Golden Girls, and flipping listlessly through old issues of magazines, looking for gossip and movie reviews.

In retrospect, do you believe your purple-panted professor? I wonder if she was performing for you.

p.s. I hope you feel better soon!

Rose said...

Thanks for the good wishes and mindless TV suggestions, everyone. I'm partial to _Singin' in the Rain_ when I feel bad, though _Anchors Aweigh_ also got me through the very unpleasant evening before a colonoscopy. And the less said about that, the better!