Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Being sick

This might not be pretty.

I am still sick. I coughed right after I wrote that. Twice. With that deep, baritone boom that reflects nothing of my high tenor voice, though I do like how it makes it raspy. I think my neighbors down the block might be able to hear my coughs. It is not a Library cough. Or, I should say, today I am keeping it out of the Library as I do not think it will add much to the environment there. Actually, it is a cough I have been hearing quite regularly at the Library for the past month or so. It came from other people. I wish all those other people had stayed home. Maybe I wouldn't have this cough now, or runny nose, slight achiness, or general feeling of just being tired. I don't know. I do know this: I have the sick time appropriate for this situation. I am contagious, though, judging from my four minute research, I am just coming out of the most contagious part of my illness, nevertheless I will still be able to pass this cold along for another few days. And I am doing the right thing by everyone by just staying home.

So why do I feel uncomfortable about staying home?

I'm not sure. It could be because I could work, if I had to, and I like staying home, so, it working out for everyone involved seems... suspicious. I'm not entirely sure who it is suspicious to, but I am pretty sure that person hates me. I have cobbled that person together from pieces of real people I have sadly known. When I call the Library to tell them I am sick that is pretty much the person I expect to answer the phone. I find calling in the hardest part.

Some of that dates back to a different time at my Library, a time when subs were rare, the workload overwhelming, and a person gone sick, or on vacation, just meant more work for everyone left standing. Also, in that time, one needed to talk directly to one's supervisor, who always sounded suspiciously like that person, mentioned in the paragraph above, who hates me. His response was less:

"It breaks my heart you are sick, but we care about you. We want the best for you, and think it is for the best for all of us if you take all the time you need to be whole and healthy again. Shall I take you off the schedule for the next few days? "

And more:

"Okay. Thanks for calling." Kind of mumbled disappointedly, and with less warmth than that sounds like it has. A lot less warmth.

Now I just tell whoever answers the phone. Their reactions vary. My being gone doesn't have the huge effect it used to in our great sea of assorted workers. The main impact is on whatever co-workers might like me and miss me. I just know this from my own experience. If someone I like calls in sick, my day is that much less fun in direct relation to how much I like them. If I don't really like them my day can be better when they don't come. There are also schedule changes when someone is sick, but those are a bit of a crap shoot. That can make your day worse, but usually it ends up making it a bit better.

Do other people feel the way I do about all this? I don't know exactly, but there are a lot of indications of similarities. People come in half sick all the time. Why? Some people hoard sick leave like over-zealous squirrels with acorns. They will never be able to use all that sick time and it pays out very poorly at retirement. Some come because they think they are too important to stay home. But I have never worked with a single person who the waters don't close neatly over when they're gone. So, I think it's the hate person. I think a lot of people are carrying around some kind of hate person on this one. So let me be here to tell you, none of us hate you on this. We get a little mad and irritated around it all, but it is never about when you stay home. It is when you show up. So stay home, have some tea, and catch up on your blog posts. 

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