Linda Boyne: Being sick in the Vail Valley
Vail, CO, Colorado
Don’t you hate being sick? We do not have the time in our busy days to deal with illness. You can try to ignore it, to deny its existence, but it usually catches up with you and wipes you out. It’s just not right.
I have two little germ factories that I brought into this world who are usually to blame for any malady brought into our home. Apparently, I have taught very well how to share but not how to wash their hands.
And this year for Christmas, they gave me my gift early: a fabulous cold. Aren’t they thoughtful?
However, this run-of-the-mill cold went rogue on me and I lost my voice. This is so unacceptable to me because I’m what you’d call a talker. Sure, on this black-and-white flat page I am merely a writer. But in the three-dimensional world, I’m really quite animated.
I enjoy a good conversation with friends, a friendly chat with my favorite checker at the grocery store, the random exchange with people in line at the post office. I got in trouble in school all the time for talking. I could never take a vow of silence, nor would I ever want to. I’m just not a quiet person. And I’ve been known to have volume control issues, sometimes at very inopportune moments.
So, you can imagine my despair and dismay when I woke up the other day and couldn’t talk. When I sat down to write this column, the written word had become my only means of communication. Well, that and a series of odd and indecipherable pantomimes engaged to get my boys ready for school.
Over the past couple days, I went from sounding like myself to becoming a Kathleen Turner impersonator, with sort of husky and sexy, albeit a little flemy, voice. Then I transitioned into Loraine Brocco, with kind of a deep, hoarse, forced voice. And now this. I’m reduced to being a poor man’s Marcel Marceau.
Oh, the agony! It’s pure torture for me. Nevermind the fact that I feel like crud. Or that I look like hell, all pale and dark-circled and red-nosed. At least the last part has a little seasonal appeal.
I can’t talk! Every time I open my mouth to ask a question or add a funny little quip to a conversation, all that comes out is a strange, honking bark. I’ve become a land-locked seal.
The worst part is that my newfound profession requires me to be on the phone and interact face-to-face with people all day long. Normally, it’s a great fit for my skills and personality, but not for the sick, mute version of me. What a great representative of our valley to have on the front lines right as holiday visitors flood the resorts for vacation. People find it very charming when their concierge stops whispering mid-sentence to hack, cough, gasp for air and blow her nose. I feel like I should be offering Purell and facemasks to anyone who passes within a 10-foot radius of my desk.
I have noticed an interesting phenomenon, however. It seems that when all you can manage is a croaky whisper, people speak more softly to you. They even whisper in response to a question without realizing it. It cracks me up. I might start employing this with the boys. It’s the reverse yell. No longer will I be woman, hear me roar. Hushed tones are the new bellow.
So, when I start making my transition back into the world of the talking, my first two calls will be to the makers of Throat Coat tea and whoever came up with the idea of putting lotion in a Kleenex. Genius! Heal while you blow. You’ve got to love someone who’s thinking about those of us who are ill and infirm.
Linda Boyne, of Edwards, writes weekly for the Vail Daily. She can be contacted through firstname.lastname@example.org