miles to go: 1,910.2
looks like something the cat dragged in this morning.
matter of fact, Dawn looks like something the cat chased into the
azalea bushes, toyed with for twenty minutes, impaled, eviscerated,
swallowed whole and then regurgitated onto the Welcome mat in a big
"I don't feel well," she mumbles -- quite
unnecessarily -- as she signs herself "In" for the day. And she shlumps
off toward her cubicle, lugging her Kleenex and her two-gallon jug of
Sunny Delight with her.
morning long I listen to her -- from her cubicle, a hundred feet from
my desk -- barking and wheezing like a '72 Plymouth Valiant. The viral
infection she picked up, during her visit to the corporate office in
L.A. last week, has obviously blossomed into Fullscale Yuck.
now she's here to *share* it with the rest of us.
already trying to figure out how I'm going to manage the sick time next
week. If I take my four hours of sick time, plus four hours of
unpaid leave -- and then I work an extra hour every day for the rest of
the week -- that will sort of cover one day. If I'm sick more than one
day, of course, I'll have to dip into my vacation time. Or should I use
my personal day?
Simultaneously, I'm running inventory in my
head. How are we for Kleenex? Sore throat spray? Cough drops?
We've got a medicine cabinet full of night time cold medicine (one hour
of catatonia, followed by five hours of jittery insomnia), but we're
running low on daytime cold medicine ("non-drowsy"
except for the parts where you're unconscious). Maybe I should pick
up some batteries for the thermometer, while I'm at it. And some
chicken soup. And some orange Jell-O.
a big stack of junky pop culture magazines.
not that I plan to be sick. Quite the
opposite. I'm doing everything in my power to avoid Dawn and deflect
the *Yuck Molecules* floating around the office today. I sat as far
away from her as possible during the word processing seminar this
morning. I hold my breath whenever I'm forced to walk past her cubicle.
I don't touch anything that she's touched. In fact, I've been sitting
here at my desk, observing her as she moves around the office ... and
the instant she's out of sight I leap out of my chair and hose down
anything she's come in contact with: doorknobs, buttons on the fax
machine, file drawer handles, the candy dish in the lobby.
even threw away the rest of the unwrapped candy when no one was looking.)
I have to be realistic here. In an office as small and as enclosed
as this one is, the chances of completely avoiding the *Yuck
Molecules* are pretty slim. Already, two more of my fellow Dirt
employees are showing symptoms: the Main Marketing Guy (who actually
says "ah-choo" when he sneezes) and one of the geotechs (who has had
his door closed for the last four and a half hours). The best I can
hope for is that it waits until the weekend to hit. That way, at least,
I don't have to worry about whether or not I'm being paid to watch
Still, I might get lucky. You never know. Fundamentally, I'm pretty
healthy these days. I might just manage to escape it altogether.
mid-afternoon Dawn calls it quits. I've listened to her cough grow
progressively more raspy and tortured as the day has worn on. Now
she's standing in front of my desk: her face is the color of Ragu
Alfredo Sauce. She looks at me, with the same feverish pink 'bunny
eyes' the Tots always used to get when they were sick, and says --
quite unnecessarily -- "Ibe goig hobe dow."
hope you feel better," I say to her with genuine concern. "Go home,
unplug your phone and get into bed." She nods and says thank you,
finishes signing herself "Out" for the rest of the day, picks up her
briefcase and her jacket ...
and sneezes on me.