As far as I’m concerned, there are four and only four times when it is fun to be sick: 1) when you’re a student and being sick gives you an excuse to cut class; 2) when you’re salaried and entitled to a certain number of sick days; 3) when you need to get caught up on last season’s episodes of Glee (and by getting “caught up,” I mean debating whether I’d rather go out with Matthew Morrison or Cory Monteith) and finally 4) when you have a boyfriend.
Being sick when you have a boyfriend is great. The last time I found myself so lucky was when I lived in London. My then-boyfriend and I worked a few doors down from each other and he skipped his lunch break just so he could go trekking up the High Street to buy me a cup of miso soup from Pret A Manger. Unfortunately, his little trek took place in November and he didn’t take the time to slip into his jacket before confronting the pneumonia-inducing climate that is Putney in the fall. As a result, he got sick, and no sooner was I back in fighting form than I had to deal with him blowing his nose every two seconds.
Nonetheless, my illness was nice while it lasted. He made me tea and bought me raisins cookies (totally medicinal, I assure you) and let me borrow his gloves when we went to Hammersmith for Guy Fawkes Night (wouldn’t it be cool if we had fireworks to honor insurrectionists in this country? Oh wait—we do, but we don’t have bonfires. I think I’m going to start hosting July 4th bonfires next year).
The point I’m trying to make in my pitiful, woefully dehydrated state is that being sick when you have a boyfriend to dote on you (and to buy you soup) can be quite nice. But when you don’t have a boyfriend—when you just have 14 first dates and only a handful of seconds—there’s nothing nice about it.
To his credit, Date #9 has been texting me every morning to make sure that I haven’t keeled over yet but I suspect this is only to assuage his guilt for having infecting me in the first place. (He maintains that it wasn’t his fault—that his cold was over within 48 hours, whereas mine has lasted nearly a week now—but I maintain that he is a biological terrorist.)
It would seem that schlepping over to University City for last night’s tap jam and then writing until well after midnight wasn’t the greatest idea in the world. But one must support the arts (even if one resigns herself to the audience after only 30 minutes on the dance floor) and I have an ulterior motive: I’m secretly hoping to develop a full-blown case of laryngitis by tomorrow.
Why? Well, although you might think it’s just so I can test Date #9’s soup-buying abilities, it’s actually because tomorrow marks the launch of Apiary Literary Magazine and I’m meant to be reading a chapter of my work.
This seemed like a brilliant idea at the time. When the editor invited all the contributors to read at the launch, I thought, “Sure, I could do that.” Or at least ‘Sure, I should do that.’ Honestly, I’d rather poke myself in the eye with a sharp stick than attempt to engage a room full of strangers but I figured it would be good practice for when I finally:
A) Finish revising my manuscript (which doesn’t look like it’s going to happen any time soon now that I’ve gone and gotten myself a real job. And that reminds me… since I’m working part time again, I need to change the name of this blog. Any ideas?)
B) Secure an agent who actually likes my work (which I’m not expecting to happen any time in the near future either, especially as yesterday marked the receipt of my third rejection letter. I imagine my “Your work sucks” stack will have to hit double digits before I get really suicidal—by which I mean soul-crushingly serious— about my work.)
C) Publish a New York Times best-seller and embark upon my first of many international book tours (and although I know it’s going to be ages before I’ll have an excuse of this magnitude to fly to Heathrow, I believe in positive thinking, which is why I agreed to do this reading in the first place.)
I was all excited about the launch initially. I kept picturing that scene at the end of Sex and the City (the film) where Carrie is at a reading—her reading—and she’s wearing that cute green top and those adorable little glasses (now that she’s finally stop stealing Mr. Big’s), and she reaches the end, smiles and says, “That’s just a little something I’m working on right now.”
But I don’t have a cute little green top, and I don’t wear glasses and I don’t even know which “little something” I’d like to read so essentially I am screwed. On account of the new job, I did treat myself to a new dress last week and I was planning to wear it to the launch but upon further inspection, it has come to my attention that I have yet another not-enough-cleavage crisis on my hands.
A sensible girl would spend the afternoon figuring out what she’d like to read, and perhaps practicing (which is what the theatrically-inclined Date #5 suggested in his weekly email from New York). A sensible girl would not spend the entire day worrying “But what if…?” (which is what Date #9 suggested when we spoke earlier this morning). But personally I think it would be entirely more sensible to simply skip the launch and stay home, cowering in terror, which is why I’m hoping to parlay this cough into full-scale laryngitis over the next 24 hours.