I was going to write and hike and take in the warm air while the entire northeast United States seemingly shrinks into a glacial oblivion. There were new recipes to try out with my indestructible cast-iron skillet, itself forged in the fires of Mount Doom.
I had mammoth plans and not one of them involved getting sick.
Then Friday night the mind-bending sinus cold set in. I should have seen it coming — after all, I taunted it all week while it visited my wife while I brought her hot meals and tissues.
I flaunted my good health in front of it, waving like a matador before a charging bull.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we’re only now entering the worst of cold and flu season, which peaks in February. It recommends getting vaccinated around October to stave off seasonal flu.
I was vaccinated only two weeks ago, and it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to work. By that time, your body has built antibodies to fight off several of the most common strains of influenza virus.
A cold is a different animal — a lesser cousin to the flu for most. If you’re like me and rarely get sick, it can hit nearly as hard.
By Saturday morning, my head worked independently from the rest of me. My legs and arms were ready to enact some plans, to walk about the neighborhood at the very least. But the 10-pound stone atop my shoulders would not lift it from whatever propped it up — the back of the couch, the bed pillow, etc.
By Sunday, the Vicks VapoRubbed sinuses opened a bit. Some power was restored to the thinky parts of my cerebral cortex and I was able to blink my legs on and off. They brought me to brunch at Granville Café.
A warning: Once you experience what I’m about to describe, you can never unsee it, so read this at your own discretion: While sitting at a patio café table for Granville’s Sunday brunch, the whirling fans above you create a hypnotic strobing effect to everything on your table — the salt shakers, the coffee, the silverware. Everything pulses in a hypnotic thrum, and this consumes your entire attention if you’re sitting there with a head cold (or too many mimosas, on a better day).
A few cups of strong coffee later, we took off across town to Centinela for some cat food because we were still hungry. At least that’s what I told the helpful woman who greeted us at the door, who took this information in stride.
She knew a lot about what our cats like to eat even though she’d never met them, and I was only half-listening to her expostulations on the values of oven-cooked food because there were a lot of things to look at and I was doped up on cough medicine.
When you tell someone you have a cold, often their first reaction is to tell you about some home remedy that will “always do the trick,” as if curing yourself of disease is some circus sideshow and you’re the lion tamer. Why, then, are there aisles upon aisles of cold remedies at the local pharmacy? Is it that all of them work, or none of them do?
I’ve been told to make chicken soup, suck down Vitamin C like it was going out of style, eat spicy food, and steam my head.
One particular remedy sounds like it may work. It involves a squeeze of lemon, some honey, some cloves, hot water and whiskey. Supposedly, it will clear everything in no time.
Ah, but I have no lemons or cloves. Our honey has gone all crystallized. It takes too long to boil water.
I suppose this plan is still worth a shot.
--BRYAN MAHONEY is a recent transplant from the East Coast. He can be reached at 818NewGuy@gmail.com and on Twitter: @818NewGuy.