Something’s wrong with me. I don’t feel right. I think I’m coming down with something because my throat’s a little sore, and I’m tired. Very, very tired. My neighbor had a bad case of strep last week. She came over, sat at my picnic table while our children played in the backyard. I only talked to her. I didn’t shake hands with her or hug her or anything. In other words, I did nothing to encourage the passage of germs in any way! Because for those of you who know me, you might remember that I don’t like to get sick, and I especially fear catching something contagious, no matter how easily treated it is. There’s a word for that, this fear of germs. It’s called Mysophobia. And so I kept my sunglasses on and sort of squinted at her so I wouldn’t have to look at her fully, be susceptible to her sickness. It was blistering hot out but I didn’t even offer her a cold drink because I didn’t want her strep germs on my glassware. I only sat across from her, talking. But maybe I caught something from her, anyway. Maybe the germs floated out of her mouth while she was talking, caught the breeze, and landed in the air near me as I took a breath, and that’s what’s wrong with me now.
You’re probably thinking I’m crazy, that I’m a hypochondriac, right? Well, I can’t help that, this kind of stuff runs in the family.
And so back to what’s wrong with me… More than the sore throat, I’m just tired. It’s a deep, debilitating exhaustion. It’s disturbing. I want to lie down and go to sleep. I wanted to lie down and go to sleep immediately after I woke up this morning. So something is definitely wrong here.
I googled it, these symptoms. I might have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome . The “chronic” part doesn’t fit right now, because this tiredness just started. Still, maybe it IS chronic fatigue syndrome, but this is just the beginning of it. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has to start sometime, right? I mean, it must have a beginning. For every patient that sees their doctor complaining of overwhelming tiredness, I’m sure the doctor asks, “When did these symptoms start?” And the patient has to think back, and say, “Yesterday… last week… last month…” My symptoms, I’ll tell the doctor when he asks, started on June 15th. I remember it pretty clearly because it was less than a week after
I turned 39 my birthday.
I stayed up late searching the web, checking on my symptoms, compiling a list of possibilities to discuss with the doctor. Then I remembered that a few nights ago, I had also stayed up really late, until midnight. I was cleaning up my blog here, deleting code that made it look strange on the page. I had to spend hours fixing my posts because I outright ignored the instructions which read “do not cut and paste from Word because it will leave undesirable code in your posts which you will have to spend hours upon hours upon hours deleting. And then you will still have to frost those cupcakes for tomorrow’s class party because they aren’t going to put frosting and sprinkles on themselves!” I didn’t think the rule applied to me because I was merely importing my blog from the other site where I used keep it. I had indeed typed all of my posts in Word before I had published them on the other site, but they looked fine there, so I didn’t believe it would be a problem here. Until I saw that clearly, it was. And I had to fix it. And it took all night.
I should have paid attention to the warning. You’d think I would have learned my lesson about this kind of technology related stuff when I ignored the warning on the photo site which said I shouldn’t order prints of my digital photos because they would be pixelated at that resolution. “Whatever,” I thought. “Pixelate them! I don’t care. Just print my 500 photos and mail them to me. I want to put them in the new albums I bought!” But when the photos arrived, I saw with my own eyes what pixelated meant. They were awful, and grainy, and… awful, and I couldn’t use them. And just because I can, I’m going to tell you that there was nothing pixilated about my photos being pixelated! I had to upload my photos again, at a higher resolution and start over. The lesson there is twofold. 1) Heed the warnings – they are there for a reason, and 2) Order the prints before you reduce the resolution on your digital photos in an attempt to conserve storage space on your computer.
So maybe, I thought, I’m not really sick after all. Maybe this tiredness is simply from staying up too late. But God, if this is how I feel after staying up until midnight, how much worse will it be when I go to the midnight release party of the final Harry Potter book on July 21st? I won’t get home from that until 2:00 a.m. I bet! I can’t take this tiredness. If I am this exhausted, I won’t be up to reading Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows. I’m afraid some 12 year-old, home from school on summer vacation, will finish the book before me and spoil the ending. They’ll stay up all night long, because they are younger than me and they don’t have to do anything except maybe feed the dog, and they’ll read all night and all through the next day, and maybe the next (depending on how many pages J.K. Rowling has penned this time), and they’ll finish the book. Before me. Their parents won’t stop them either. They won’t discourage them from devouring the book in one sitting, like they might advise them against eating all of their Halloween candy at one time. Reading isn’t harmful in the way that too much candy is. It won’t spoil your dinner.
And really, who can blame the parents for letting their child do this? That’s one of the cardinal rules of parenting: Never discourage a child from READING. Similar to the way you never wake a sleeping baby. Or a sleeping tiger, if you know what’s good for you. Parents around the world, if they’re smart, will seize this opportunity to get their own reading done, or take their own much needed nap, while their child is tucked away in their room, deep and far away inside the world of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry with Harry and his friends.
I just know the news stations will be waiting to report on the first person to finish reading the book, the way they report on the first baby born in a new year. They’ll interview the child on television, show them on the morning talk shows! The child will give their impression of the book, how much they liked it or didn’t, and inadvertently let slip who dies. I don’t want to know! I want to discover it myself. So I’m vowing now to unplug the T.V. and I won’t check Google reader for all the feeds I subscribe to; I’ll take few days off from reading my favorite blogs. I’ll avoid the newspapers too. Maybe I’ll even get to bed a little bit earlier. Then again, I probably won’t. I’ll probably be back on-line, frantically looking up information on eye-strain and what kind of medication will help treat Harry Potter withdrawal.