It’s all in your head.

No, really, Alice*. There is nothing wrong with you except the fact that you’re bat shit fucking crazy. Either that, or you’re infected with this disease I call the “Suburban Sickness.”

You started complaining on Monday that you were “hot.” Not in the good/sexy kinda way (um, duh… I have eyes), or even the you’re-almost-at-that-age menopausal way.. you were just plain hot. But only your from your neck up, you say? Well, okay Alice. It’s your body, I don’t pretend to know what you’re feeling.

I couldn’t help but shake my head when you decided to leave early that day to “get some rest.” Does being horizontal make the skull’s temperature fall a few degrees? Either way, you passed by Amber on your way out… she was shopping at Trader Joe’s while you were standing at my desk for 20 minutes complaining and telling me stories of other instances when you felt “warm” in the past. It only makes sense that the two of you would stand at my desk for another 20 minutes so you could repeat the whole story to her. Complete with enthusiastic hand movements, small sighs where appropriate, and at least 20 touches of the back of your hand to your cheeks and forehead for extra emphasis. I like how Amber reacted perfectly and even put her hand to your forehead just to double-check! But no headache, no fatigue, no other symptoms… just hot. Well, I assume you two are obviously medical experts by the way you’ve handled this situation. Please do hurry home and put your head sideways so some of the heat can escape!

By the way Amber*, your super adorable reusable shopping bags are full of lots of perishable goodies that you should probably fill up the break room fridge with before it all starts to spoil. I would hate to see the equivalent of my entire paycheck just wither into garbage right in front of my eyes. No worries about taking up space in the fridge, the rest of us will just have to do our grocery shopping when we get home. A small price to pay to help a friend. Just like you helped Alice determine that her forehead was warm. Aren’t we all so friendly here?

Oh right, Alice. Thank you for the text message Tuesday morning to let me know you’d be in around 10am. I guess the residual side effects of “warm forehead” include morning sluggishness… you really had me worried when you didn’t actually come in until 11am! Turns out that the warmth made it really difficult for you to get moving on Tuesday.

This phenomenon makes me ponder what other ailments fall into the category of “It’s okay if you’re 2 hours late to work IF: …”

What about things like

  • “IF … you don’t feel like getting up on time” or
  • “IF … you drank too much wine and you’re hungover” or
  • “IF … you are tired and stressed out from chauffeuring a kid daily/solo, taking care of a home and said kid and all pets solo and being buried under a financial landslide” or even..
  • “IF … your office manager had a warm forehead on the preceding day (you know, just in case it’s contagious)”

I digress.

Yesterday your overheated skull warranted an entire sick day. “To chill out” was exactly what your email said. Did you use that phrase on purpose? It was quite a clever pun, if so! Anyway, it was only right that all of our coworkers Replied All to your email with gushing sympathy and get well soon wishes. Obviously you were feeling really bad to need to “chill out” for the whole day! Still no fever, but there was the faint beginning of a headache. You made the right choice to stay home. And we are so supportive.

I was so happy to see you when you strolled in this morning, closer to your 9am start time. That had to mean that the warmth had subsided enough to release its sluggish effect on the rest of your body. You’re cured!! Your doctor said it was probably stress from the new school year getting to you. (I didn’t want to ask if you went to the type of doctor that has you sit on an examining table or a sofa.. I guess whatever you need is what you need).

So back to school stress? It must be since your daughter is in 2nd grade and is in the same Nutcracker performance that mine is and also its her first year of Brownie Girl Scouts. I can imagine how all of that stress must eat away at you at night. I guess the ballet practices once every two weeks and the Brownie meeting on the alternate week make your life crazy. It’s a good thing you also don’t coach soccer practice twice every week on top of that, I know from experience that can really take up lots of solid relaxing time. But obviously, I don’t know stress like you do, so what do I know?

You have to stand at the bus stop with your daughter, waiting for that big yellow machine to carry her off. Too bad you can’t be lucky like me and go to work much earlier so you could drop your kid off at school at 7:15am and pay people to make sure she doesn’t die while waiting for school to start. I bet the fact that she has “homework” now really stresses you out too. Subtraction is hard, and you probably agonize over every problem worrying she might get it wrong and that would mean she’s stupid and that you’ve failed as a parent and basically are a sorry excuse for a human being. Man oh man, I don’t envy your stress level. No wonder your head is so warm.

You also think it could also have something to do with your new exercise regime (walking 20 minutes in the morning when the weather is nice and you’re also not busy feeling sluggish or waiting for school buses), or the fact that you’ve been avoiding salt and sugar (except when we order lunch as an office every other week for someone’s birthday or some type of occasion). Or maybe it’s because we’re all preparing for a big upcoming work event right now but clearly you have the most stressful part in that. You also mentioned it could be allergies too, only without the congestion or itchy eyes. What if it’s from sitting in front of a computer too much though? There’s always that. Or radiation from your cell phone penetrating your brain.

You know what… Alice? I think you said it best when you described your life as a “perfect storm” right now, that’s why your head is so hot.

That’s why I live “outside of the beltway,” as your people would describe it. The Suburban Sickness is lethal and more contagious than the Swine Flu.

The first clue that you may have contracted this disease is if you suddenly feel overwhelmed when anything at all has changed in your general life. The seasons, weather patterns and phases of the moon can all be triggers. If any tasks at your job start to feel like “hard work” – this could also be a huge indicator that the  Sickness is upon you. If you find yourself going out of your way or doing something on someone else’s schedule… well you better get yourself to a doctor STAT! Doesn’t matter if it’s the examining table or sofa kind of doctor.. just get to one and get diagnosed quickly! Chances are you’ll need to lay horizontally and “chill out” for at least 1 day and 2 hours until you start seeing results.

Feel better soon, Alice.

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6 thoughts on “It’s all in your head.

  1. Wow, that was an example of the most passive aggressive ranting toward a pathetic co-worker faking sickness because they are lazy I have ever seen. That was epic. I have a similar co-worker who stays home when her freaking dog gets sick. I want to put my fist through the stupid dog.

    • LOL… the poor dog though. Yeah I felt dirty after writing this, you know passive aggressive isn’t my style. Next time I’ll stick to the more direct “FU” approach.

      • Passive aggressive is totally my style which is why I loved it so much. I used to talk about a co-workers bad habits by pretending I was talking to someone else about it. Also, when my boss stole my mouse pad, I emailed her and said, “I can’t find my mouse pad. Is it okay if I order a new one?” She immediately confessed and said she took it to give to a co-worker because she didn’t think I used it. It was my awesome power of passive aggressiveness.

  2. I think my eyes are sore and head is hot from reading this… I’d try that ‘hot head’ excuse if I weren’t a freelancer who doesn’t get paid for time off (and, being my own boss I know what a jerk I can be about whining so… shit, might as well just get back to it ;-). I feels your pain, or I remember it from the days when I worked in an office and had to deal with the lazy masses. (ick, lazy masses… sounds like a midnight movie I once saw)

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