07 September, 2010

Will Power Vs Chill Power and the gift of man-flu

The other day, when I looked up happily from my horizontal position on the sofa, peered over the top of my pizza and announced to my friend – with a contented/smug smile – that I was “just the perfect amount of hung-over”, I expected him to nod in understanding. Instead he looked at me like I was a bit extraordinary, wrote me off as a crazy and asked “isn’t that an oxymoron??” No. No dear friend it’s not an oxymoron. And this is why.
If, like me, you’re one of those who struggles to sit down in front of the TV for more than 3 minutes without your mind thinking about what you’re going to do when you get back up, you’re hands fidgeting for the nearest rubix cube and your body twitching to at least be hanging off the sofa upside down backwards if it’s going to be forced to be in such a seated position, then you may just understand this concept already. For this inability to be tranquil, though sometimes useful, is a disease. And a real pain in the A for some of us.

Yes, we fidgety types like to be busy and yes we can channel the everlasting surplus energy into all sorts of prolific and unnecessary activities, (like just the other day, I couldn’t bear to sit down after my tea, so I decided to see how many walks I could do on my hands. Turns out not many), but sometimes when you’re knackered from the effort of walking on your hands, it would be nice to be able to take a pew, watch the Xtra factor and shut the hell up for a few hours. I find it nearly impossible. Nearly.

This is something my poor mum had to deal with while I was growing up – if I wasn’t bouncing a ball repetitively outside her window, I was somersaulting on the sofa in my plimsolls and drawing my name all over my grandmother’s book collection (and then blaming my grandmother). My dad too tried in vein to quash it, intermittently playing a game with me called “Let’s See How long We- And By We I Mean Hannah- Can Be Quiet For” when I was aged about 4. I certainly don’t have any trophies from that particular tournament. It was the same with the blinking, laughing, statue and breathing games. And alas, I did not change. Instead emerged a Fidgeter, with a beeline for the next activity before she’s even finished the last.

For the Fidgeters of this world, the only time we can ever actually chill the hell out and have a breather is when we are quite literally struck down. For me this is occasionally by illness, fairly regularly from hangover and potentially at some point in the future by lightning.

Therefore it is a blessed relief when something like a cold saps of us of our excess energy and forces us to lie motionless for hours, sometimes even days on end, with nothing on our minds but the next episode of Friends. Bliss. Though it’s initially frustrating for Fidgeters to be inhibited in this way, once you know there’s nothing you can do it is a secret sweet reprieve. “I can’t be bothered to do my run, but that’s fine because I am ill” and “when I get in from work, if I just want to watch Friends for 7 hours that’s okay, because I NEED TO.” It’s basically a get out of jail free card for any activity or responsibility you don’t really want to contend with, but without the sheer guilt that comes with just sacking it off when you’re in full health.

It is a blissful experience when we can occasionally just STOP and feel nothing other than the snug respite of the divan. Some are born without the burden of the Fidget factor, and they are blessed and they can lie down for days and they can do/think/talk absolutely nothing whenever they fancy it. I envy you. All of you. Because when I’m cleaning the inside of the fridge for the 8th time, you’re chilling out and generally having a wale of a time. Guilt free, because you can’t help it if you’re born like it.

Therefore, sometimes, after a particularly busy few months, if I feel a sniffle coming, it’s all I can do not to stand in the rain, in wet clothes, next to a group of influenza patients, wielding a hand held fan to really break the ice of the group and get the germs flowing. Because catching said influenza is the only way I am going to force myself to have a freaking seat.

But of course there is a fine line between the heavenly, much sought after, low immunity and the unwanted pain of full-scale illness. In my uni days I was frequently knocked off my treadmill by bouts of tonsillitis that left me bed-ridden for days, unable to earn money, unable to finish essays and, worst of all, unable to GO OUT. Horrors. The excruciating pain of 15 knives in my throat and small planets for glands was not worth it for a guilt free week in bed and a V.I.P. pass to temporarily hop off life’s roundabout. Far too high a price to pay for down time and I would rather have just kept going with the Fidgteyness thanks.

The same can be applied to hangovers. Sometimes we spend hours on the bathroom floor while enduring agonising headaches and the occasional feeling we might just die today, awaiting the days end as the excruciating tick of the clock reminds us time is actually going backwards and we have just wasted our one day off teetering on the outskirts of hell. Those days I would rather leave. On other occasions, after a good old fashioned game of VODKA, we’re very pleasantly surprised to find that apart from an overwhelming lethargy and instinct to lie down and eat without a care in the world, we feel pretty fine! And on days like this we happily take to our sofas, grab the nearest blanket, stock up on potato cakes and hope the day never dies. Sigh. It was one of these days I was experiencing when I made the “perfect hangover” comment to my friend. And I still agree with myself.

Currently, I am hovering on the edge of man-flu, and though part of me is stocking up on vitamin C, making soup and getting an early night tonight, there’s a devil inside me that wonders if it just…gets…a…little…worse….I might be able to sack off everything productive this week, hibernate in my room, get the Sex and the City box-set going and gather up all the take away menus ready for action… we can only dream. But until that glorious day arrives, I will write this blog, haul myself to work, run like a crazy woman at the crack of dawn and wonder just what it must be like to be a lazy little sod with all the time, the highest bed-attendance rating and the strongest chill-power in the world.

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