Are people getting sick more often or is it just me? This is Sickness Winter. David and I used to tell Michael he was sickly, but now the tables have turned. My body is a magnet for the flu and the common cold. Mom says she never gets sick because she drinks so much tea, but guess what? I've been keeping count (28 cups of tea from Monday til now, Thursday), and I still caught a cold. A small secret: I kind of like colds. It gives me an excuse to not move as much. Having a cold makes me want soup and my parent's dusty brown couch. That couch probably has more germs in it than my drain did when I pulled out a foot-long lump of toothpaste, hair, and who-knows-what, but I still love it. My co-worker used to haul other people's beds out of their homes so he could install the new sleep number ones. They say humans shed two pounds of dead skin a year into their beds. What if we could see everything we leave behind? I am grateful that microscopics are invisible.
The other thing we got as kids for being sick was peach juice from the oven at carefully timed intervals. My mom would put a small white bowl of it in front of me and say, “Slowly, slower! You're going to throw up again if you overdo it!” It was so hard to slow down because that peach-flu juice was like the nectar of the gods and nectar is a word that has always makes me want to drink to infinity. Like good granola bars–one friend and I mused many ravenous days after swim practice about granola bars that would go on forever. They'd be like edible telephone lines. You could eat your way from one town to the next.
Since my mom was the school nurse, I faked sick a lot in grade school. I went down to the office where they had thin gray cots and I laid there doing nothing, which I never liked to do, but because it was breaking the rules, it felt like something. There was this other nurse there named Mr. Denehey and he had a curly-cue mustache I couldn't help but stare at. The points of it were greasy and twisted, and looking at it legitimized my fake sickness because it kind of made me feel sick.
I wonder if most people's grade schools have as many wierdos as ours did. Like the gym teacher who wouldn't have been so weird if his shorts were longer or had just one button, or the music teacher who didn't talk much whose glasses turned dark just from facing the window. My favorite teacher in grade school was the one who had cooking class on Fridays.
There's something about food that soothes, and she knew it, and I tried it when I started teaching, and told the kids they could bring in snacks after lunch if they hadn't had time to finish in the cafeteria. That was before I learned that huge pickles in bags and English assignments don't mix. But the more I write and the more I eat, the more I realize they are bound up in each other, just like bodies and germs or hair and drains, or schools and oddness, or maybe it's just that everything touches everything else, even if microscopically, and the way I remember is by playing connect-the-dots.