The next morning I wake up congested. While I am not feverish or dizzy, I find breathing difficult. And this is the type of unwell I detest the most, not sick enough to desire death, not well enough to work out. I stumble into the bathroom and search for my new best friends, Kleenex and drugs.
Despite my brother’s lectures that Tylenol causes liver damage I pop 1000 mgs. Look, if drinking hasn’t shut down my liver, I can’t worry about Tylenol. I want tea, but I don’t have the energy to boil water and go back to bed. It is times like this I wish I had a husband, so I could have someone to yell at because I feel awful. Mental note to self: do not put that in a matrimonial advertisement.
No more than five minutes pass and the doorbell dings. Good God, who can this be? I am not expecting any packages but the same part of me that dates idiots doubts my anal retentiveness and wonders if I forget ordering something. I drag my haggard self to the door and open it.
Ugh, if life doesn’t suck enough (no husband, living in the Heights, wanting to be a writer, not feeling well) now the Crazy Lady (Post 91, 38, 23) stares at me in my flannel pajama bottoms, oversized sweatshirt, lopsided ponytail, and unwashed face. She must think I look half-conked because she asks, "Did I wake you?" "No, my throat and chests hurts…” I say hoping she will be scared away by possible contagions. "Oh, I was inviting you to my art show in my apartment. I am raising money for animals," she says.
Let's all be clear about one thing --- there is NO WAY in hell I would willing step into her apartment. She has six pets in 500 square feet, it's a full on zoo up there. Plus the Super says she is messy. And she once told me she has no furniture. "What are you taking for your cold?" she asks. Uhm, I really don’t want to tell her about my illegal supply of antibiotics from Mexico so I say, "Decongestant." She makes a face and says, "No. That is all wrong. You need to soothe and coat your throat. Lemon and honey."
Let me see if I got this right. The Crazy Lady, who used to be a substitute teacher, was going to sue Albany, makes art from garbage, is NOW a doctor? She has me worrying about my past life actions. Who did I wrong so badly that I have lost God’s favor in this incarnation?
“Everyone is sick with some crud,” she explains. I feel a little better knowing there is something going around and I ask, "Oh others in the building?" She frowns and says in a super snotty tone, “No! All of my friends!” Okay, and how EXACTLY would I know her friends are ill? Because I want to be alone I begin to cough really hard and she finally leaves me to my disease.
* * *
Seven hours later I feel MUCH better. Which is a very good thing because I have a meeting. I shower, put on make-up and lock the apartment feeling pleased with my rebounding health. The moment I step out the building I am no longer pleased. The Crazy Lady is walking her dogs. When she sees me she looks me up and down and says, “Feeling better?” Her tone is accusatory, like I was faking sick to avoid her show. Which I would not attend if my health was fabulous. "Some," I reply and cough. "I have an engagement I cannot miss.” Why am I justifying myself to her? I mean, who is she to me? No one! I was sick and now I am not. I don’t owe her anything. What is wrong with me that I feel bad that she thinks I lied? Why don't I advocate for myself and hold my head up high?