Cold & flu & terror & the apocalypse

I’m terrified of cold and flu season.

…But I’m not terrified of colds and the flu for the reasons you might expect. (Unexpected Illness Terror: a book of contemplative poetry by Keely Flynn, coming soon.)

I mean, there’s plenty to be afraid of. Kids throwing up is gross. Body aches and sinus pain make you regret life choices, like choosing to have a life where you catch the flu. And, at least in this news cycle, this is the worst illness season we’ve ever had. (And I kind of believe that. Because they’re all the worst. Any time you get hallucinatory nausea, that is the new literal worst.)

Recently, I’ve discovered why I’m so freaked out by all of this.

It’s not because kids are germ-mongers and every single moment is a moment anew to be licked. I should probably always be at Code Red, sickness-wise.

It’s not because I have a deathly fear of vomiting, flu-related or otherwise. Although I do. I’ve been known to cry before, during, and after. (I’ll say it again: P.J.’s a lucky guy. Marriage to me is a prize among prizes.)

And it’s not even because I’ve seen so many loved ones suffer from awful diseases in the past handful of years, and when I feel horrid it’s not a humongous leap to imagine that every unexpected twinge is bone cancer. (I am one thousand percent serious. Cancer PTSD is a very real, very stupid thing.)

No, it’s way more self-centered than that. My fear stems from the knowledge that I’m Letting. Everyone. Down. Not that I’m the most important person, place, or thing in people’s days, oh no.

It’s that I’m a worker bee who isn’t working.

Carpools? Phone calls? Defrosted chicken? Signed forms? Emails? Reading logs? Writing articles and attending recitals and reminding people to pee in the toilet? I can’t bear the thought of having to have others do my mundane stuff.

I can’t bear the thought of having to ask others to do my mundane stuff.

(Weirdly enough, though, when my friends get sick this is never the thought that crosses my mind. They need to take it slow. Heal. Go easy on themselves. And accept this casserole. I wish I could accept my own casserole, emotionally speaking.)

I explained this to P.J. and somehow got on the topic of biological warfare (because, again, marriage to me is unparalleled when I have flu and potential illness on the brain). We started talking about Nora Robert’s newest book, Year One, a dystopian sci-fi virus-happy novel. That got him on the subject of Stephen King’s The Stand, and how society could fall so easily, so quickly. (Marriage to P.J. is special, too.)

He could quickly tell that this wasn’t the soothing bedtime tale I had hoped for, and wrapped it up with the not entirely convincing argument that this type of fear has been around for years and years and years and, ultimately, we’re fine. Right now? We’re fine. (You’re fine, Keely.)

fridge porch Lollygag Blog

This is what our back porch briefly looked like when our fridge bit it. Yeah, we’d probably be great pioneers.


Hoping to open at least one more can of worms, I asked him if he thought I’d make it in a scenario akin to The Stand and he totally didn’t answer quickly and I found that borderline offensive.

“I don’t know, what’s your story line?” He eventually asked me.

Like he had to ask if I was important enough.

So, like a grownup, I calmly informed him that I was a main character. At least friends with a main character or two.

“I mean, maybe our narrative is to die peacefully in each others’ arms,” he gently said.

I rejected that answer which, on second thought, might’ve been too quick for his liking.

By this point, P.J. realized he had to go do something- pretty much anything- that wasn’t in this room at this moment right now. Like, now. His exit line?

“You’d probably be fine and hard-scrabble enough with the kids. You could get them to Boulder.”

And I don’t know where he’d be during that scenario, but let’s just say that maybe he’s formulating a new apocalypse escape route that doesn’t “include me” as much as I’d “like.”

So like, wash your hands, people.

Marriages are at stake.



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