And I’m NEVER sick. I’ve never even had the chicken pox.
(OK, I’ve totally jinxed myself. It’s like when you’re driving along, singing to the radio, goofy smile on your face, and you turn to your passenger and gleefully (read: ignorantly) exclaim: “We’re making GREAT time!” and then you come around the bend into a sea of brake lights and a 12-mile back-up.)
So Saturday morning, I went to the walk-in clinic. There can’t be a more germy place on earth. I mean, it’s a room filled with people who were sick during the week and either didn’t have time, or deem it a necessity, to visit their doctors so they waited until Saturday morning, woke up feeling shitty, like they had razor blades in their throats, an ocean in the ears, a chest filled with goopy mucus, trouble breathing and semi-laryngitis (or something like that).
After having my first “bronch” (which is the fancy name for sucking air from a tube hooked up to a vibrating machine) and returning home with an upper respiratory virus, I spent the next three days in pajamas.
Three LOOOOONG days.
I have a hard time doing nothing. I get bored very easily. And TV can only entertain me for so long. I need to find something else to occupy my time.
Cut to December, 2005
I was convalescing from major abdominal surgery and was basically immobile. During those two months I became addicted to Ellen and ebay.
Around week 4 of my recovery I had exhausted online shopping, had Googled all of my friends from grade school, and had run out of books to read. So when the city’s snowstorm hotline number flashed across the television screen, I believed it was my civic duty to call.
ME: “Hi, I’m calling to report a street that is yet to be plowed.”
A nor’easter had dropped about three feet of snow on Boston a few days earlier, and it was all still sitting in our street.
Disgruntled City Worker (sighing): “What part of the city and what street?”
Another loud sigh. Hey, it’s not MY fault that you hate your job.
ME: “Southie. Lovis Street. It’s on the West Side, off of 5th Street, near D Street.”
DCW: “I’ll put in the request. Someone should be there within the next day or so.”
Next day or so?
Oh, I don’t think so.
(Now, you should know that there was really no need to plow my street. You couldn’t park on it, and you could barely drive down it on a sunny summer day. There were only 4 rowhouses on each side…it was a really tiny street. But, I was bored. And I didn’t like this woman’s attitude.)
ME: “Hmmm….in the next day or so…I see. Well, I certainly hope someone doesn’t need an ambulance…or fire truck…guess they'd die or burn in their bed. Well, thanks for your help.”
The bright lights caught my eye first. I carefully pulled back the shade just enough to allow one eye to see what was going on. Sure enough, there was the Channel 4 News Van, idling on 4th Street. A gutsy reporter carrying a microphone, followed by a camera man, were carefully making their way down the mini walkway we had shoveled from our door to the end of the street.
Holy shit! My street was going to be on the news! Because of me!
I flicked on the news and hit record on Tivo. The segment started out with a shot of our street sign.
“There are still streets in some parts of the city that are yet to be plowed.”
And then it cut to the reporter standing in our half-assed shoveled walkway in front of our house.
“I’m here on Lovis Street, in South Boston, a street still covered in three feet of snow. Many are concerned all over the city, that emergency vehicles cannot travel down some streets, causing people to be literally trapped in their homes.”
If you looked closely enough (as I did, rewinding and watching the taped segment 37 times) you could see the shades moving a bit in the window above the reporter’s head.
Yep, that would be Yours Truly.
First I saw the flashing lights on the ceiling. Then I heard the familiar sound of metal crunching against asphalt.
Holy shit! They were plowing our street! Because of me!
You’re welcome, Southie.
So this time around, I was ready to lose my mind. There was NOTHING on TV (only so many times I can watch Legally Blonde on cable), nothing to buy online, and no disastrous situations in which I had to elect myself a representative for making the neighborhood a better place to live.
At one point, I just shut the TV off, and laid on the couch in silence.
Every member of my family called me every day to see how I was doing (this is not normally, btw. They just couldn't believe that I was sick).
My conversations with my mother started the same way each time she called.
MOM: “How are you feeling?”
ME: “Um, okay? Maybe a little better?”
MOM: “Well, you sound just awful.”
ME: “Thank you.”
And so on.
Vito was very excited that I was sick. It meant he had a companion 24/7. Of course, any time I would finally drift off to sleep, the mailman would come, our crazy neighbors would park in front of our house, or another dog would walk by and send Vito in a barking frenzy.
Tuesday morning I felt good enough to go back to work. Surprisingly, traffic was light for the day after a holiday.
“Wow,” I said to myself outloud, “I’m making really good time.”