The regular flu, in addition to a gastric flu, has invaded Norway over the past week. It is Winter holiday for people with kids, but I see many with or without them absent from work, lying in bed at home with running noses and a fever. I’m one of them.
Right now I’m actually at work. At least in the physical sense. But that’s because I can’t stand lying in when I’m not completely handicapped from disease. I get bored very easily when I don’t feel good but not so bad that I’m crippled. I can’t read or write, but I listen a lot to the radio. And I doze off. So I’m not doing much work, but then I’m not taking any pay for it either.
I’ve been sick for three or four days now, coming in to work only to read about conspiracy theories, new bigfoot material and listen to the Ricky Gervais show. For two nights in a row I dreamed, half-awake, about being crushed by a giant credit card the length of about my arms stretched out. Psychosomatic, no doubt, as I’m snug under the green and heavy military wool blanket. Then there was something about three dimensional coordinates, down to four decimals, none of which I could clearly remember, although they seemed to have some sort of vital importance..
I feel like a zombie. My body is all mush and stooped like a drug addict’s, I can’t really communicate with anyone, and I’ve got a peculiar hunger for minced meat, brain tissue and what have you. May be because my brain is trying to evacuate piecemeal through my nose. They made pasta in the cafeteria yesterday. Usually I’m all like: yippe! But I was like: Where’s the dead cow innit? At least it wasn’t ravioli.
Last night I reached a higher state of feverish consciousness. I’m always unsure of whether I’m really ill or if I’m just imagining things (usually a consequence of fever), so I trap myself in endless debates with myself on the subject matter of me being ill or not. Exhausting debates. I sometimes hit the pillow in pure agony. I knew there had to be something wrong, since everybody else outside were huddling together while I was sweating like a dog in a chinese restaurant. And freezing. Anyway, I was lying there dozing off after a pretty long session, regarding the inconsistency of sweating and freezing at the same time in terms of molecular movement, when I noticed that I had my mouth wide open.
I remembered a documentary that I’d seen the week before called Deadly Summer. It was from the Luangwa riverbed in Zambia that dries out for six months of the year, and about how three of the most dangerous animals in Africa are squeezed together in a tiny spot, at the most critical time of the year; the hippo, the lion and the crocodile. In Zambia the temperatures can get so high that if warm-blooded animals don’t have access to shade and water, their brain will literally cook and probably leave them to die as a consequence of irrationality (wandering confused around in the sun etc). But warm-blooded animals can also regulate their own temperature, given enough water, something the crocodile can’t. This is why we often see crocodiles lying on the riverbed with their mouths open. Well, you won’t see that by the rivers here in Oslo, but you know what I mean.
I realized that that was the exact same thing that I was doing; lying there on my pillow with my mouth wide open. That’s when I understood what was going on and why I was feeling so bad. I had turned into a cold-blooded mammal, for some reason. It made perfect sense. And it also explained my craving for minced meat.
I dozed off again, lying perfectly still beneath the surface of my wool blanket, waiting for an antilope to come and have a drink..
On a side note, did you know that the most dangerous animal in the world to human beings, except for other human beings, is the hippo? Each year hippos kill more people than lions, elephants, leopards, buffaloes and rhinos combined. I don’t really blame them. They must be the most miserable animals I know of apart from koalas, the latter being miserable because it can never get a girlfriend because it’s so cute.
I can connect with that.
Hippos are fat, ugly and destined to spend all of their lives in a puddle that is over-crowded with their own relatives. Not much room for artistic expression or individualism there. Not room for anything, really. If you’re a hippo, you will never have free space for a hobby, like stamp collecting, without some ol’ relative poking their nose in. Or stepping on everything. No wonder they are so aggressive.
If I was a hippo, I’d kill anyone coming near me right now. I’d just lean on them.
.. which reminds me, I’ve been invited to a family gathering at my grandmother’s this weekend. Just like hippos, we’ll be forced to live together, eat and sleep together, although I’ve never seen hippos pitch up a lavvo (traditional sami tent) to grill pork ribs out in the winter cold. But I must tell ya. If I don’t get any better health-wise, I will not be going. Feeling like I do now, I’m pretty good, in terms of I’m not gonna die right now after all. But that’s not the equivalent of being ready for some long-lost relatives hugging me and asking inquisitive questions about my studies. I’m not up for that at all. I wouldn’t stand to "have fun" right now. I’d just lean on them.