A peculiar type of evil

A cold is not unusual at this time of year; it might be considered a new year gift to us all from the universe - at least those of us living on this damp island in the northern hemisphere.  It doesn't generally affect most of us particularly harshly, yet a cold is one of the most annoying things in life.

The trouble is, it isn't serious enough to warrant the attention it gets or to generate any sympathy from friends, family or others, yet it still makes you feel utterly lousy.  It is a mild form of illness but it hits you like a Nissan Micra rolling off the driveway - not enough to kill you, but enough to hurt.

The sensations begin the day before: a head filling gradually with phlegm, a body getting progressively more achy, an increasing feeling of being cold, a sense of resignation that it's back again, back to irritate.

Three days is the usual amount of time I have to endure a cold: day one to sink into self-pity; day two to really wallow in it; day three to start to get grumpy, bored and begin to think about doing stuff. Day four - if it comes - is a nightmare because the agenda is so fluid - as, indeed, are the excretions, as you sneeze and cough for all it's worth so the little beggar can move on to the next victim. 
It's not trivial enough to ignore - unless, of course. you're one of those brave souls who 'soldiers on', staggering into places of work, public transport and other public spaces, snuffling and hacking away, endless hankies seeking to hold back the annoying dribble of hideousness from noses while the cold itself quietly celebrates the sheer idiocy of the individual as it gleefully populates other specimens forced to share the space.

If you're one of these people, no you're not that important. Take some time off, get better and keep your germs to yourself.

A cold keeps you awake all night as you cough, snot and breathe like an ageing carthorse going up a hill.  It also, of course, keeps awake anyone unlucky enough to have to share a bed, room or even a house with you.  In my case, I suffer from additional symptoms in the form of inexplicable bruising to my back and legs which neither I nor my wife can satisfactorily explain.

Admittedly, a bout of cold gives you time to catch up on some TV, at this time of year some of the endless Christmas specials recorded over the festive period but there comes a point in the day when I for one cannot face another 'Two Ronnies' special from 1975 or a seasonal Holby City ("The holly's where, nurse?!").

There's a chance to pick up the ever growing pile of magazines and books but even that long cherished activity pales after the first couple of hours.  I've never been one for a beach holiday where you sit around doing nothing: I need something to amuse me, like a square, a bar, a walk or a museum.  Oh, how my children hate our 'cultural' approach to holidays...

You have to do something with your day and a cold just makes you feel like doing nothing.  Today, I derived a genuine thrill from getting some washing dry in the high winds which have hit the country this January as it gave me something to do.

I now have to drag myself off to the pub - usually one of life's greatest pleasures, especially at the fag end of the year when it's dark, miserable and there are fewer opportunities for company - but today, I'd rather do anything else, even go back to my book or the latest attempt to shoehorn 'A Christmas Carol' into another TV format.  I'll doubtless have a great time in the pub when I get there but a couple of pints is not going to help the thick head in the long term.  It will hurt tomorrow.

I shall then return to wallowing in self-pity for another day, hoping that the hated virus gets bored and decides to go, having been gently batted by ineffectual over the counter medicines.  I may even secretly enjoy the feeling of warmth, fuzziness and woeful TV, interspersed with tea - doubtless with very little sympathy.


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