It sucks being sick, but it sucks even worse when you’re sick and not living at your own home. Yeah, that’s right. I’ve spent the past four and a half days feeling like crap living in someone else’s house, taking care of two horses, two barn cats and one very… nervous? amped up? trying-very-hard-to-please? doesn’t-know-how-bad-he-needs-a-flock-of-sheep-but-he-*really*-needs-a-flock-of-sheep toy australian shepherd (that’s a dog, people).
The ultimate WORST in being sick is when you don’t look or sound as sick as you feel. Seriously. If I’m going to be sick, I’d rather look like some heroin-addict on a bender with pinkeye, smelling of Vaporub and trailing a piece of Kleenex behind me thanks to the puddle of cough syrup I stepped in two nights prior with the slight stench of vomit lingering in my hair. And when I open my mouth to speak? We’re talking a coarse voice like that actress named Brett Butler crossed with Christian Slater after an insane amount of screaming at a Linkin Park concert, crossed with a serious bronchial wheeze that makes doctors want to bring out the animal tranquilizers.
But NO! When I get sick, I get to look like… well… ME. And this time around, I felt like a version of Me that had spent the better part of my ENTIRE LIFE running from woman-eating zombies through the hostile, enemy territory of Faah-cue! So much so, that even after finding some measure of strength in my poor, depleted muscles to drag my body out of bed and down to the barn for the morning feed and chores, I’d return right back to the queen-sized oblivion from whence I’d come, drowning myself in the blanket of sleep for another couple of hours. Breakfast? Who has the energy? I always liked lunch better anyway.
Because I can be an optimist, I had rescheduled my Thursday (a.k.a., the day that I began to feel like Death had decided to make me his prison-bitch) training session with Darryl for Saturday. Well, Saturday rolled around and I still felt like a bag of candy corn that got winded just going to the fridge for a glass of milk, and feeling particularly pathetic was never my strong suit. Realizing that I was even boring the DOG, I hosed myself off and headed into the gym, where Darryl proceeded to put me through some strength and agility bullshit that made me feel like I was being featured in one of those crappy after school special movies about how participating in sports can make the ugly, unpopular girl discover her hidden Strength! and Agility! and Ability to dribble the ball around the goal and use a nine-iron to spank the coach. What?! Anyway, my point being that I think Darryl is one sadomasochistic dude for making me run around teeny tiny orange cones (on new, slippery, shiny laminate flooring!) and do odd hopscotchian patterns through this nylon webbing contraption that I’m sure was invented just to look harmless and then PUT YOU ON YOUR FACE.
I barely survived Darryl, but seeing as how I had missed my chance to go horseback riding the previous weekend (and I’d stored up some extra sleep-credits on the couch Saturday night), I wasn’t about to let another no-hunt Sunday go by without taking Show Me out for a spin and letting him stretch his legs. The plan was to take an easy walk out across the dead soy bean fields, and to do one or two trot/canter laps around this really nice, sandy trail. Well, said trail was having a Party! and everyone invited was astride four-wheelers or dirt bikes, kicking up clouds of dust and revving up the RPMs on their candy-colored, horse-powered, foreign-made toys. Show Me and I detoured around the group, and made for a much quieter, grassy field with a wide swath mowed around the perimeter — perfect for an easy trot, a light canter, and leaving us with enough time to return home before dark. But to get to (and from) this spot we had to wind our way through a pine forest. Somewhere in the winding, my neck decided to make out with a young sapling that had bent over our path, leaving a beautiful, red and angry and surely to-be-infected hickey to mark the illicit woodsy encounter.
I go back to work tomorrow, still completely exhausted, beaten down and horse-whipped. Only instead of looking like a girl who just got over some crazy, odd, sleep-monster of a cold/flu-thingy, survived an attacking personal trainer with Good Intentions, and who managed not to become the Headless Horsewoman… I’ll just look like Me. Me with calves so tight I’ll be hobbling across the parking lot, a rough hickey scraped across the entire right-side of my neck and probably with some remnant pieces of hay stuck in my hair.
I really need to come up with a better story than the truth.