25 December 2008

Merry Christmas from the darkside

I have been sitting down to write this post and then standing right back up again. If, by "standing right back up again" I mean sitting here shoving some Christmas cookies in my mouth.

Stress = food in Suebobland. Or, more closely stress = carbs, because, really, only carbs will do.

I don't have a reason for real stress. All is well here. I just have the stress of disappointing myself so severely that I am all spun out and discombobulated.

Confused yet? Let me 'splain.

Last night we had our Christmas eve service at church. I wasn't in the mood to start with. It was cold and the wind was blowing hard and I wanted to do nothing more than to stay home with the dog and be warm and cozy. But my folks had asked me to pick up some steak dinners for them for their Christmas eve meal, so I had to go out anyway, and decided to go do the church thing while I was out of my PJs.

The place looked gorgeous and everyone was dressed in festive colors and the string quartet was beautiful.

Then I heard a snorfling noise behind me. I looked back and someone whom I like was sitting right back in the next row, wiping her nose. I took one look at her and realized she had a bad cold.

I am not really germ phobic. I never use antibacterial soap and I grab washroom door handles without a paper towel and generally don't worry much about the filth of the world.

But this thing - this going out in public with a cold when it is absolutely unnecessary and especially when people are confined together in an enclosed place - it has become a huge source of anger for me.

I sat there just feeling this woman - who is, again, someone I really like - breathing her cold germs over all of us. I was trapped with her for an hour, stuck and miserable, absolutely unaffected by the baby Jesus story or the beautiful carols because all I could think about was HOW DARE SHE!

I wanted to leave but I couldn't bring myself to stand up in front of the whole congregation at Christmas eve and march out. I remained, boiling and squirming.

After the service, she hugged my friends and said "Merry Christmas." She leaned toward me and I hissed "Do you have a cold?" I didn't even hide my contempt.

"Yes," she admitted, kind of sheepishly. "Can I just shake your hand?"

"No!" I said, in the tone of a 13-year-old when asked if he wants to hang around with his parents at the mall.

I backed up and left the hall as quickly as possible.

That's right. Less than 15 minutes after hearing the story of Jesus and the manger and the Light of the World, I was snarling at a fellow church member and was in a towering rage.

I couldn't shake it. I wanted to punch something. I was not just a little angry. I was very, very mad at this person for ruining my Christmas eve and for trying to infect me with her germs.

Let me be clear: I know it was me that ruined my Christmas eve. And I know she was not trying to infect me purposely. I am taking this issue way too personally. I am feeling like people who go out in public when they are sick are saying "I don't care about you. I really don't give a thought to anyone but myself."

I am trying to get my brain into a better place, because I am spending too much time being angry and resentful about this. I don't want to have this stupid thing in my heart and in my mind.

But I still want to yell at sick people who do stupid stuff like going to church or museums or amusement parks. Because? GAH.


Julie said...

This really irks me as well. I work in an open office with two people who dont take very good care of themselves and bring colds to work ALL the time. One of them has the nerve to be mad at other people for being sick, but believes she is too important to miss work. It's selfish, really.

mar said...

this was just in the redbook i read on the flight home. should you go to work when you're sick or not? it showed both sides: how important do you think you are that you need to be there & make everyone else sick vs. who do you think you are to stay home unless you're hospitalized & make everyone else do your work.
i guess it can go either way, but like you said, this was an optional event, not a requirement. then there's the other side, enjoying the christmas service even though you feel miserable. it kinda goes both ways, but i can see why it bugs you.
pucken i say! (as word verification)

LittlePea said...

Yeah! I feel like that when I hear a really gurgly sounding cough from people. I get so upset. Actually, one of those disease-carrying selfish people who infected ME! I just started my cold....and no I will certainly NOT be walking around breathing my germs on people. Because I was raised with manners :O)

Anonymous said...

I am a little germophobic, so oddly enough, it doesn't bother me when sick people come to work or otherwise go out in public. I would think it would, and yet it doesn't. I get enraged when people are chronically late, though. Once in a while, fine, but if someone makes a habit of being even a little late, I grow to hate them intensely and quite quickly. I also wish I could let go of this (even though I am totally in the right) because on more than one nice occasion, I've been unable to enjoy it, what with all of my (barely) concealed seething because we had to wait 20 minutes for someone.

I hope you, Todd, and the kids otherwise had a nice Christmas.

SuZ said...

This is my pet peeve.... and it's really gross.

Glennis said...

Well...it's alittle different when it's work than something that one is not obligated to go to, like church.

I realize that many people feel attending a worship service is an obligation. But there are other, more solitary ways to worship your god.

But for work, some people do not have sick leave; some people would lose pay or even lose their jobs if they didn't show up. Other people feel obligated to show up at work because they perform a crucial duty that would hurt the business if they don't show up.

But church... not being a church goer myself, I may not be qualified to comment. But remembering my days when I was a church goer, I think that God understands when one stay home and pray in private, honoring Him without spreading germs to fellow congregants.

West Coast Grrlie Blather said...

What 'they' say is that a person is most contagious before showing symptoms. I have no idea if that is true or not.

I don't get a flu shot. I rarely get sick.

Still, if you're not well enough to be out, then stay home. If you're nose is running, stay home. Even if you're not contagious, you'll feel better if you do. And you'll leave the rest of us to think about something besides contagion.

Glennis said...

Thanks for you comment on my blog about cyclamen. They DO look like bunnies, what a great comparison. Funny about your test - they truly are perennial here in Southern California.

Susan C said...

I have a slight cold with a runny nose and a bit of a cough, but I feel fine otherwise. Life does go on and I do not plan to quarantine myself. If everyone with a bit of a cold stayed home, the world would come to a screeching halt.

And I would be horrified if I went to church and was ostracized by another member.

Kaylia Metcalfe said...

Oh, I am SO with you!!!!

It is different if you are doing something necessary like going to the store to buy cold medicine and tissues…

Let it go for sure, but really, she was being rude. She could have sat in the back or at the very least refrained from hugging and trying to touch you! Ick!

JCK said...

You have every right to be pissed off, in my opinion. Sometimes you just have to miss things when you are sick, people!

We missed a whole week's worth of events due to being sick here. It was really rough, but we did it. I wouldn't want to subject anyone to what we had.

Project Christopher said...

You felt how you felt and hopefully you're feeling a bit better about it now. If you like this person, hopefully you'll reach out to her and.... let her know you were having a mood day.... (aka, the A word) for your behavior. God forbid I be the one to take the high road, but while she wasn't doing the right thing, also doing the un-right thing doesn't help. Yeah, they should be more considerate and not go out in public snarkling snot left and right, but... baby Jesus and such, you know :)

Calm soothing thoughts... deep breaths free of snot and cold germs.... etc.

you're still a good person in SueBob land and it's nothing that cookies can't calm :)

Happy New Year!

Mignon said...

This is what marriage is like for me, sometimes. Like, Jim's insensitivity is a direct attack on me on my wants and needs. Sometimes I just can't shake the feeling and I'm just beside myself with anger that he would continue to do X, Y, or Z, when I've specifically asked him not to. Like you, though, I know it's my problem, but I can't shake it. And the inability to shake it creates a Mobius Strip of irritation and negativity. I hope you jumped ship before it got too bad...?

Suzanne said...


Jenny Grace said...

I have a lot of sickness rage.
Sometimes it is necessary.
But just lah dee dah for no reason?

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