Nick's Journal
2008-01-03 01:11:57 (UTC)

I appreciate the mask, but please step back

now that i don't have to pull my hair out over law work i've
had a chance to busy myself with life's greatest
pleasure...simple work. bustling in and out of stores
completing errands, cleaning, organizing, now that's how i
so of course no true r & r is truly complete without a five
hour trip to the local post office. i had bought the first
season of "The Wire" - the absolute best show on this earth
- and, having finished it, was on an errand to send it to my
brother. so there i was marveling at the fact that,
although there were three postal employees "back there" only
two ever worked at the same time. i thought long and hard
and realized that i've never seen more than two postal
employees ever work at the same time, i looked at the 72
people in front of me in line and decided that they probably
shared my observation.
so there i was studiously wondering why people don't just
buy 2,000 first class stamps and just be done with the
constant increases the postal service imposes on us when i
got a cough from behind.
no big deal. my immune system is good.
then another two coughs. now these weren't the usual dry
coughs, but the deep, wet smoker coughs that old men usually
put up with a little bit of phlegm coming after them.
cough cough....cough cough cough cough.
so i did the polite turn around with a faint smile to
signify that i was merely engaging in a concerned rather
than condemning turn-about.
then my smile faltered.
the man had a surgeon's mask on.
i immediately held my breath. i held it for 20 seconds
suddenly realizing that i wasn't about to make it for the
entirety that this postal office visit would entail. i
breathed out and stared at him as he impassively stared back
at me as if we were just two dudes without masks on at the
local post office.
i quickly threw a concerned glance to the lady next to him
who was apparently his wife. she was rubbing his arm, her
eyes fixated on her husband with what appeared to be a bit
too much concern for the common cold.
i turned back and heard him cough again, then mutter,
the hair on the back of my neck stood up. every disease
went through my mind. what does he have? is it contagious?
would the mask do anything? shit, isn't it better he has
the mask on? think of those who don't...
cough cough cough.
i scrunched my shoulders up at what i thought was phlegm
hitting my neck, which of course was ridiculous as the mask
would have caught any projectiles emitting from his mouth.
the line just wouldn't move and i was trying my damndest to
rationalize staying and sending the dvd.
finally i turned around and did the only thing i could think
of to put my mind at ease.
"you okay?"
the guy was somewhat hunched forward holding the top of his
white v-neck shirt in a bunched up fist, twisting it so
close to his chest that i could see his chest hair just
nudging out the top.
"he's very sick." his wife offered.
well fuck, i gathered that much. i stood there awkwardly
and noticed that i sure as fuck wasn't the only person
keenly interested in his condition.
so i was standing there moving back and forth on my feet,
wondering if i should leave. i kept on glancing at him and
finally noticed a prescription bottle, ah!
i tried as inconspicuously as possible to look at what it

well if you look it up you'll figure it out. anyhow, i felt
really bad when i found out what it was for and at the same
time i sort of felt mad that they just wouldn't tell me to
put me at ease...guess that makes it too real.

so other than that my dwindling vacation time has been spent
blissfully engulfed in mindless tasks. yesterday i spent
about 3 hours organizing all of our files and documents.
because when it comes down to it, we're just paper. juliann
and i together are specifically a total of 5 inches of
paper. it was oddly satisfying. juliann told me that it
was voltaire who first observed that simple work is true
happiness. i have to whole-heartedly agree. sure i love
vegging out but after a while i just get antsy and want to
do something.