Twitter Makes Self-Pity Much Harder

Massive chest cold, day 6. Now it’s just down to the receding thunder. My voice has dipped from baritone to a bass-baritone, I occasionally need to remove excess phlegm from my throat in a rude way, and though I am once again able to maintain a conversation, a laugh will provoke a coughing fit.

(So obviously, I’m DVRing “Futurama” and switching to “Family Guy” until this whole thing finally blows over.)

Ig, what a week. A cold is a slightly different experience when you’re self-employed. After X years as your own boss, you stop thinking in terms of ‘days at work” and “days off.” It’s all one slim little week in which you’re trying to reach a set of goals.

So you keep trying to sneak in little micro-bursts of work. I was unconscious for most of Monday, got a little work done on Tuesday but mostly kept drifting in and out of sleep all day, spend Wednesday mostly awake on the sofa. left the house for the first time in 100 hours for breakfast with friends on Thursday, and was finally back in uniform on Thursday night.

(Now? I’m at Chipotle, enjoying a burrito. Ironically, my annual physical is today. So just when I felt like I really wanted to have a nice, big meal…I needed to start fasting for the blood tests. And the blood work is just going to tell my doctor how healthy I am when I’m sick, right?)

(The good news is that in the past week, I’ve been dining on aspirin and cough syrup. I expect a big thumbs up on the cholesterol count. Is there actually any room left in that sample for cholesterol, anyway, what with all of the extra white blood cells?)

Now comes a big weekend of catching up with work and housekeeping. But I’m not complaining! As usual, I can’t imagine how parents deal with problems like this one. I was out cold for one day — couldn’t have taken care of a kid even if I liked him or her — and I would’ve simply needed to soldier through the rest of the week as best I can. As a childless freelancer, I was able to still get some work done every day, during slivers of opportunity that presented themselves. Kids make a big show about how freespirited they are but they do tend to work on frustratingly fixed schedules that care little for parental fevers and chills.

More than that: if you ever, ever, consider self-pity, a trip through your Twitter stream will set you straight pretty quick. Yeah, it sucks to have a bad cold. But then, amid the random links and silly comments, you encounter a Tweet from someone who’s undergoing cancer surgery in 24 hours and they’re still putting a full day’s work. Complaining about your chest cold seems selfish and silly and trivial and tacky, as it should.

(Even if you had a really cool fever-induced dream about the cast of “The West Wing” as the command staff of “Babylon 5,” and really, you were only going to mention how sick you were as a way of setting up that story.)

I shared this observation with my friend during breakfast yesterday. “Twitter’s the Total Perspective Vortex, from ‘The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy’,” he said. And he was very, very right.

We keep discovering and re-defining what Twitter is. This week I feel like it’s that road that all of us drive through during our daily commute from waking to sleeping again. We get to see the tiremarks that everybody else left and sometimes it makes us choose to follow that same line around a curve or to favor the apex a little more.

2 thoughts on “Twitter Makes Self-Pity Much Harder”

  1. Or you could just ignore twitter and complain to caring friends and family. It shouldn’t take Twitter to make you remember that there’s always someone else who has it worse than you.

    And you must be doing well indeed if as a self-employed person you can afford health insurance that covers annual physicals.

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