First, about three weeks ago, it was food poisoning. Given discretion is the better part of valour, I’ll spare you the details.
Then it was a cold. The usual drill: sore throat to begin with followed by phlegm, mucus, tissues, and sneezing. Rough, you know, but not quite rough enough to keep you off from work. (A shame that, as it’s surely the illness that generates the very least amount of sympathy. Even getting a cold six weeks later, a colleague will still delight in finding you heinously responsible. “You should have stayed at home,” they’ll say, “because now you’ve made me sick” – missing altogether the irony of saying this at work.)
“You don’t get enough vitamin-C,” said an older female colleague. Bit rich, I thought, coming from someone who seemingly gets all of hers from cake.
And now, this past weekend: a bad back. I threw something out brushing neck hairs from my shoulder – Jackie glad to offer her trimming services, on account my looking more and more like a man selling doner meat at midnight.
I tried everything. Stretching. Hot bath. Ice pack. Hot water bottle. Complaining loudly and often to Jackie (she started to find it funny). Hitting the spot causing pain repeatedly with a rolling-pin (on my feet and for most of Arsenal versus Tottenham). Lying flat. Trying not to move. And moving anyway – with the stooped-over gait of a geriatric wizard.
But there’s every chance I only made it worse. Something moved, let’s try and move it back a diagnosis and a remedy both lacking the key ingredient of medical expertise.
Either way, the main thing is my body’s been rebelling of late against the tyranny of youth. And replacing it with diarrhea, the sniffles, and a bad bloody back – not literally bloody, no, though it turns out rolling-pins are apt to leave a bruise.
The evidence is building by the week: my body is failing me, and I’m starting to feel kinda old. Worse, my silly brain is only slowly catching up. In my head, if nowhere else, I’m still playing football in the park, out on the piss in Croydon and then sleeping like a log. Not creaking and wheezing and going without coffee after six because it’ll play havoc with my sleep.
How ever did this happen? Why? And for crying out loud when’s it gonna be 80-out and summertime again? (Winter: approximately three months too long and demonstrably too cold, even when it’s mild.)
I’ve been 30 just about four months now – and frankly, so far, the results are rather underwhelming. I mean, really, I could be writing about the Oscars… only I missed them, in bed early with a nagging pain in my back that just wouldn’t quit. Wondering – most likely aloud – why Tylenol PM is such a slow-moving drug.
These last few weeks, in short, I’ve somehow conspired to become the youth that’s wasted on the young.