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Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on March 20th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 2 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 2

Under attack

When you let down your guard, that's when they invade

BY SHELLY CONE

It was one of those days that makes you want to run away from it all and join the circus. Lucky for my family, I have no real interesting skill. Still, it doesn’t mean the thought doesn’t cross my mind from time to time. It started as soon as I awoke to the familiar sound of a child vomiting.

It was the same one who gets tummy trouble at least once a month. Always on a Monday morning. As I dealt with my non-vomiting but just-as-needy preschooler, my middle child got one of his infamously grisly bloody noses. To my horror, the boys had left the bathroom a mess. And when I looked at the time, they were late for school as well.

I’d had good intentions for the next day when I went to bed the night before it. I imagined I’d get the kids to school and leisurely iron my clothes for my important business meeting. Instead, as I tried to maintain a peaceful aura, chaos erupted around me.

During 90 percent of the millions of moments we spend together, I adore my family. They make my life fantastic. But then there are those scattered moments when I just want to give up. I was tired, under pressure.

After getting the kids to school and the sick one tucked into bed, I broke down.

I cried for hours. I sobbed until my chest hurt and my body was sore. My face was red and hot and my head ached. My nose streamed as much as my tears. Three solid hours later, I realized I wasn’t crying at all—I had a head cold.

I hadn’t been sick in months. Not even a sniffle. It seems when I broke down, cold germs charged in and took over, and now I had the challenge of making it through my day looking like I had malaria. On top of that, it was my birthday—and I had birthday plans.

Once again I just wanted to run away and hide, or at the very least turn invisible. It turns out that sometimes when you are at your worst, that’s when you get the most attention.

Following my successful business meeting, my sister and husband took me for a drink. Sitting there in my business clothes, my eyes watering and clutching a big wad of tissues, I thought I was giving off the ultimate aloof-don’t-even-think-about-it-buster vibe, but not so. Every time I pulled my tissue from my face, someone in the bar sent me a drink until, in the span of 45 minutes, I had five drinks in front of me with no knowledge of who they were coming from. Even without a drink, the cold made me out of sorts and really not aware of what was going on around me, and when my husband finally noticed the line of gifts in front of me, he gladly accepted them on my behalf and ushered me out of the bar.

Knowing I wasn’t scaring people off with my new sick-girl look, I was game for a birthday concert. However, constant nose blowing had ruined my nose, which was now dry and peeling. I resisted the urge to pick at the peeling nose skin but I was so self-conscious about it I couldn’t help trying to “clean it up.” So of course, it would be at that moment when the camera operator would point to me and flash my image on the big screens. Yes, there I was; my face red and puffy, my eyes watering, with me picking at my nose all close up. From the corner of my eye I saw the same bright color of my shirt flash on screen and I raised my eyes, hand still on my nose and saw myself looking back at me.

I wished I hadn’t cried so much that morning. Even though I knew I was probably bound to get that cold anyway, it just seemed like if I hadn’t started my morning with such a depressive slump, if I had stayed strong through it all, maybe my body would have fought off the cold and just maybe I wouldn’t be caught on screen picking at my nose.

For the rest of the concert I was keenly aware that I needed to leave my dry nose alone because at any moment I could be on screen. I was good about leaving it alone and forgetting that my nose skin could possibly be drying and peeling and hanging from my nose in the same way a snake sheds its skin. Then I remembered and started fussing with my nose to make sure it wasn’t doing that.

That’s when I realized the camera wasn’t random at all. Suddenly, as I was picking at a spot right at the tip of my nose, I was once again on the giant screen, but somehow I couldn’t bring my hands away from my nose because of the thought that my nose was this huge scaly, peeling mess. So because the camera wasn’t moving from my face, I just sort of played it off and rubbed my nose and then tried to act like something next to me caught my eye and then finally nudged my oblivious husband to save me.

Somebody back there was having a huge laugh about this.

The next morning when I awoke, no one was having tummy trouble, everyone was in good spirits, and even though the cold was lingering I knew I was closer to feeling better. Back to the 90 percent of times. Besides, I don’t think I could handle circus life. All that hay would really do a number on my nose.

Shelly is learning how to breathe fire—not to join the circus, but because it definitely gets everyone’s attention when the house gets chaotic.