If you read yesterday’s limerick, you might have surmised that I was feeling a little under the weather. Indeed, I have had something of a cold for the last few days. It’s nothing serious, I’m not here to elicit sympathy – it’s just a cold.
I’m certainly not claiming to have had ‘Man Flu’ or anything like that, mainly because ‘Man Flu’ is a made up concept popularised by a media which likes to stereotype character traits based on gender, race, sexuality and any other neat little box they can crowbar people into. I don’t subscribe to the idea that my gender has any particular impact on how badly affected by an illness I am.
So I fully admit that I’ve just got a cold and while I’d definitely rather not have one, I haven’t been making a fuss, I haven’t been trying to get Mrs Proclaims to do stuff for me because I’m too ill. I’ve been pulling my weight, fulfilling my domestic duties and generally getting on with stuff that needs to be done.
But I have struggled to fulfil all of my commitments to my job. If you read Monday’s post, you’ll know that I have a week off this week (because I work in a school and it’s half term) but I had been planning to go into work every day to catch up on some paperwork.
I did manage to go in on Monday for most of the day, (though I may have procrastinated for some of the time I was there, writing future blog posts and doodling). Tuesday, too, I showed my face in the office (which is an odd phrase to have chosen because, as I was the only person in the office, I showed my face to precisely no-one). However, because Tuesday was Valentine’s Day, I only worked for a few hours before returning home and taking my beloved wife out to lunch (neither of us are big fans of Valentine’s Day, but I’m not stupid enough to equate my wife’s indifference to the overall concept of the day with an indifference to me not making an effort to shower her with affection…)
By Tuesday afternoon I was beginning to feel the effects of whatever little virus it is that I’ve picked up and by the evening I was feeling quite fragile. A dose of some generic ‘all-in-one’ medicine and an early night was clearly called for. I wasn’t hugely tired though so I retired to the spare room (so as not to be in Mrs Proclaims’ way because I’m considerate like that) and lay on the bed listening to music. This is not something I usually do these days, but as I was lying there, listening to 90s era indie music, I was transported back to my teenage years when lying on a bed and listening to music was something I considered a worthwhile activity in its own right (when did I lose that part of myself? Is it just a sign of growing up? That makes me quite sad on reflection – it seems like something I should still try and find the time to do on occasion). Certainly I must have found it relaxing because it wasn’t long before I was snoring away contentedly.
The following morning, I awoke and decided that I wasn’t really well enough to go into work. I’m not someone who phones in sick very often because normally it means quite a lot more work for me when I go back in and also I really hate having to actually make the ‘I’m-not-well-enough-to-come-in-today’ phone call to my boss. But as yesterday was actually supposed to be a day off anyway, and no phone call was required, I decided it was better to have a day on the sofa, rather than trying and failing to complete paperwork in an empty office.
Mrs Proclaims, who, despite working in education, is not fully on half term, had to go into work (don’t pity her, she currently splits her time between a part time job in a school and a part time job in a university and it’s the university that she has to do this week, which seems far preferable to working in a school in many ways and has plenty of its own perks). Mrs Proclaims doesn’t drive and because it is quite far to walk and public transport links are not great I often drop her off on my way to work. In spite of my weakened state and the fact I’d decided not to go in myself, I obliged her with a lift anyway because I am basically a hero in every sense of the word and although it would take an hour for her to have walked, it was really only twenty minutes out of my day to drop her there and drive home again – a sacrifice I felt I could (and should) make, in honour of my marital vows.
However, because I was self-prescribing bed rest at that point, I only surfaced from the comfort of the aforementioned bed shortly before Mrs Proclaims was ready to leave. Consequently, I had not had any sort of breakfast. It’s generally a mistake for me to leave the house without having already had breakfast because, even when I’m at the peak of my powers I’m very easily tempted by the various commercial (and unhealthy) offerings available to buy from the various food outlets in Reading town centre. (Just read this brilliant post I wrote about breakfast in 2015)
In my enfeebled condition I didn’t stand a chance and no sooner had I dropped Mrs Proclaims off than I was already considering the various delights that I might be able to avail myself of before returning to the comforts of my sofa. I realised that I would be driving past my former place of work on my route home and thus also driving past some previously cherished eateries that I no longer frequent due to not working in that bit of town any more.
I settled upon the establishment that is run by the bloke who looks (and acts) a bit like Gus Fring off of the brilliant ‘Breaking Bad’. I’ve blogged about him before – you can read that by clicking here.
Breakfast (with added nostalgia) sorted, I returned to my abode where I set about following the usual rituals of the sick day. For despite it being a legitimate day off, my decision not to go into work had rendered me in official ‘sick day’ mode.
‘Sick Day James’ is all about lounging around on the sofa, watching low-brow films, eating bad food (‘feed a cold’ is advice I take literally) and, of course, drinking lots of fluids, specifically in the form of Lucozade.
I watched two films and if you need a basis on which to judge how intellectually undemanding they were, both featured Seann William Scott. Actually both featured Sean William Scott seemingly playing the same role. To be fair I think I’ve only ever seen him play one role in any film I’ve ever seen him in, but I’m in no way judging his acting credentials, seeing as I only seem to watch films that he’s in when I’m ill. I didn’t choose yesterday’s films based on his casting, indeed I didn’t even know that he was in the second film until I started watching it, but I found his presence in both a reassuring guarantee that even in my befuddled state I would be able to follow the plots.
Lucozade always forms part of my ‘sick day survival kit’. I’m not sure why. It’s probably more logical to suppose that a bottle of Lucozade is actually quite bad for you. It may not be the worst carbonated drink out there but anything that is 25% glucose syrup and contains 350 calories per 500ml bottle (and it’s no good pretending that 250 ml is the standard serving size because if it’s sold in 500 ml quantities then people will drink it in 500 ml quantities) is basically no good for you. Add to this the fact that there is a warning on the label suggesting that the yellow colouring in the drink may have “an adverse effect on activity and attention in children” and there should definitely be question marks over the nutritional value of the beverage.
Somehow though, it is almost ingrained in national consciousness that Lucozade is a healthy drink. I know it’s one of the first things I turn to when I’m feeling a bit under the weather.
And this has been the case since my most formative years. Whenever I got a bit ill as a child, I would always perk up when my mum bought a litre bottle of the fizzy orange elixir and poured me a glass. It was up there with Calpol (the purple one obviously, not the rubbish-tasting orange-coloured ‘Calpol 6+’) as one of the definitive perks of being ill as a child in the 80s.
By the afternoon I had perked up enough to shift myself from the sofa and perform a few domestic chores. Indeed, this was how Mrs Proclaims discovered me and though it earned me a place in her good books (a place I am often in – we do actually quite like each other for the most part), she was quick to chide me and made me return to the sofa equipped with a cup of coffee and a nice piece of cake. I’m not sure either are recommended remedies for shifting a cold but it was a welcome show of affection by my wife and regardless of current medical theory, coffee and cake always helps me to feel better.
An evening of little consequence followed. I was well enough by the evening to cook our evening meal, which is generally how both Mrs Proclaims and I prefer things (we both have our strengths and weaknesses and cooking is definitely my area) and then Mrs Proclaims yielded the sofa to me once more, where I duly recuperated until bedtime.
Another early night followed and this morning I woke up feeling slightly better and if not fully recovered, certainly well enough to return to my struggles with excessive paperwork in my abandoned office.
Although once again I may have spent more time procrastinating and writing this than actually doing anything useful in the way of work…