Tuesday morning, 5:47
I am standing in the shower,
rehearsing my *sick voice.*
JoAnne," I sniffle daintily. "I'm
not feeling well, so I won't be coming in today."
Nope. Too generic. Too
breezy. Bosses prefer it when you grovel a little.
I clear my throat and
try again. "Hi JoAnne,"
I wheeze, punctuating it with a nice wet stage cough.
"I had a really rocky night last night -- I don't know if it's
allergies or a virus, but my sinuses are killing
me -- and I'm afraid that it wants to turn into an infection. So I
think maybe I'd better stay home and take it easy for a day ... take
some medicine, sleep for awhile, see if I can keep it from getting
worse ... "
That won't work,
either. Too chatty. The #1 rule of calling in "sick" is to avoid
volunteering too many details. The more details you give, the more
details you'll have to remember later. Plus I don't sound nearly
sick enough to pull off a pending 'sinus infection': the steam from my
shower must have declogged me a little. If I wait another hour or so to
call -- if I hold back on taking any Sudafed, and I forego nasal spray
entirely for the next sixty minutes -- I can probably build up a pretty
good headful of snot by 8 a.m.
The more plugged-up I
sound, the more convincing my story.
Telling the truth, of
course, is out of the question: that I just plain don't feel like
coming to work today ... that a week of PMS and hay fever [(and the
OTC's I've been swallowing like breath mints) have left me feeling limp
and blah and sorry for myself ... that I haven't had a bona fide Alone
Day (sans David, drop-in apartment maintenance personnel and/or little
jabbering voices) in weeks, and I'm desperately craving a day of
solitude and voluntary silence. I want to sit around in
my Happy Pants all day! I want to listen to my new dB's CD! I want to
read "Racketty Packetty House"! I want to catch up on e-mail, and
download background tiles, and write a couple of decent journal
entries! I want to drink Fast Lane Tea and eat Tim's Cascade Potato
Chips, straight out of the bag!
Eventually, though, I
end up doing what I always do: I finish taking my shower, and I get
dressed, and I go to work.
As David drives me to
the office, I console myself with the knowledge that I probably would
have felt too guilty to enjoy a hooky day anyway. Calling in "sick" and
leaving JoAnne in the lurch isn't my style. Plus I'd rather save
my hooky day for a real emergency. Like a day next month when the
Tots are in town. Or a day when David can play hooky with
(Or tomorrow, maybe.
Depending on how today goes.)
By the time I get into
the office I'm feeling marginally better. The pseudoephedrine and
Ibuprofen have kicked in: I can breathe freely, AND
I'm mostly cramp-free. As I settle into my desk with my coffee and the
morning mail, I see the red voicemail light blinking on my phone.
I punch in my password
and bring up my message.
Secra," wheezes JoAnne ...
sounding as though Death is standing right behind her, waiting for her
to hurry up and finish her phone call so they can resume their gin
rummy game. "I don't know if
it's a cold or hay fever ... but my sinuses are killing me this
morning. Think you can manage without me today?"
throw a rock