"How do you feel today?" asked my mother, shortly after I walked in the door this morning.*
"About as good as I look," I answered.
"Ooh," she replied, "that's too bad."
I'm not going to complain too much; I just have a cold. I'll be better in a day or two. Getting colds is just part of the human experience... albeit one that is experienced far more often by people with small snotty-nosed children in school or daycare. There are lots of ways to combat the physical symptoms of colds (I tend to do homeopathics and lots of vitamin C, but I know people who swear by the healing power of tequila), but today I'm more interested in how you combat colds psychologically. Specifically, do you believe, like Billy Crystal's old Saturday Night Live character, that it's better to look good than feel good? And do you feel better if you look good?
Yesterday morning, with the cold just setting in, I thought I could conquer it by Looking Mahvelous. I put on one of my new skirts, knee-high 2" heeled boots, and a sweater in a lovely shade of peacock blue. I showered and blew my hair dry. (I'm currently teaching myself to use a round brush as I dry. Am such a grown-up!) I put on makeup. Lots of makeup, which more or less hid the puffiness under my eyes. I looked good, and for a few hours, my satisfactory glimpses in the mirror convinced me that I felt good enough to keep my dinner plans for the evening.
Alas, my runny nose undid me. After countless applications of generic-brand toilet paper, my nose turned bright pink, revealing the illness underneath my sexy-secretary outfit and mineral powder. I gave up. I canceled my dinner plans, left work an hour early, and crawled into bed wearing flannel pajama pants and a souvenir t-shirt my husband picked up on a late-80's trip to Yosemite.
Today I'm back at work -- no such thing as a sick day for the self-employed -- but I didn't even TRY to look decent. It could be worse. I did change out of the Yosemite t-shirt into clean velour drawstring pants and a fitted long-sleeve T. I put on deodorant. I washed my face. I did not, however, brush my hair (instead I just clipped back the hank that fell into my face) or apply makeup or put on real shoes. (Much as I adore them, flip-floppity sandals are NOT real shoes.) So when I say I feel as good as I look.... Ugh.
What do you do when you're sick? Do you feel better if you clean yourself up, or do you use your illness as an excuse to embrace your inner shlump?
*My husband and I run a business together out of the top floor of the house we bought with my mom. It's just a few blocks away from our house, but it means we don't have to listen to the phones ring in the middle of the night.