Posts Tagged ‘illness not as metaphor’


Swine’s Signs

October 30, 2009

H1N1 symptoms they forgot to mention:

1. Cognitive dodginess. You are driving back from the campus library.  You pull up to a stop sign and wait for it to change.

2. Fever dreams. You fall asleep at an elevated temperature.  You dream about getting contacted by an obscure Chinese-American playwright who had a few works staged in the 1970s.  He’s got a new script about his grandfather, the left-wing theater promoter who arranged several hitherto unknown Paul Robeson concerts in 1930s China.  He shows you tattered posters and photos of Robeson in China, presumably giving the business to imperialist Japan.  You take up the script, promising to see what can be done to get it produced.  You rush to the post office–Lord knows whom you were going to write to about this–but just outside, you see Sherman Alexie, dressed in a mail carrier’s uniform.  You stop and ask, “Aren’t you Sherman Alexie?”  Not bothering to wonder why the author is punching the clock for the USPS, you give him a spiel about this great script.  He takes the folder you offer him and says he’ll look it over.  You wake up with a sweaty cold brow.

3. Despondency. When you go down to the basement to do a load of laundry, you notice water on the floor.  The water heater burst and you have to shut off the main.  Instead of just calling the plumber and getting back to business, you think it’s a sign that the world is conspiring against you and you might as well give up.  On hot water.  On the laundry.  On the dissertation.  On the job market.