What came first: the sickness or despair?

A cold southerly chill straight from the antarctic - and maybe even the cold vacuum of space - is currently blasting my poor little country into submission. As an avid fan of cold days, I've prepared myself to handle the temperatures. Right now I'm wearing with my usual attire, socks, another long-sleeved tops, fingerless gloves and a just-purchased-today beanie, with my legs resting on my 9-fin oil heater while I chow-down on chips and chocolate biscuits. On any other day, this moment would exist in some permutation of my own personal heaven, but there's one more details which puts a big fat dampener on whole situation: I'm sick.

It is approaching winter, it is getting cold, and it just happens to be the month when my sick leave gets reset, so of course I would get sick. This particular sickness has been lingering at the back of my throat for several days now, waiting for the perfect opportunity to rear its ugly head. It started-off as a pretty weak thing, but I think it's been fueled into the major annoyance it is now because of my state of mind this past week.

"It's always darkest just before it goes pitch black."

You see, on Wednesday morning as I was reading the paper while eating breakfast, I came across an article which said the Dymocks on Lambton Quay is closing down (for those who don't know, Dymocks is a chain of bookstores throughout New Zealand, and Lambton Quay is a street name). There have been a lot of retail closures throughout the country because of the recession, but Dymocks, "The booklovers bookstore" (as their motto goes), came as a major surprise to me. Dymocks has been as much a part of Lambton Quay as blue is to the sky and as far as I'm concerned has existed in that spot since the English settled this country.

Not only is it a landmark, but it's also a bookstore. While I'm no bibliophile, my love of writing is fueled by my enjoyment of reading and the feeling a good book gives me that is the urge to go out and start telling my own stories. I don't even buy books that often (I'm more of a library slut, and my last book purchase was from a competitor), yet to hear that this particular bookstore was closing down was like a stab to the book-loving part of my heart, and so without the kindle for my writing fire, I began to despair.

So there I am at mid-week, both sick and sad, one possibly the cause of the other, but I have no idea which one it could be. On the one hand, I become more susceptible to illness when my mood is particularly negative; it's like being emo allows my immune system to become more porous and thus permeable to bad bacteria and viruses. On the other, being sick causes me to feel worse and tints my entire world and outlook with a drab palette; unejoyable days at work feel longer, every wind chills to the bone, and even my favourite foods can lose their taste. One paves the way for the other and vice versa, creating some sort of feedback loop that decided mid-day Friday to explode.

Friday night had a dinner with friends to use-up 2-for-1 dinner vouchers we had accumulated before they expire, and a sort of well-wishing for one of us who is headed-off overseas to represent New Zealand in some sport I still don't completely understand. I was looking forward to it the whole week, but around lunchtime on Friday everything started to go downhill from there.

Lunch didn't feel all that great because my throat started to feel like it was swallowing sandpaper, and the shopping afterwards for a new beanie, gloves, and jacket for an upcoming ski trip left me noticing how cold it was getting outside and how useless my jacket was to protect me from the elements.

Back at work, the new project I'm currently assigned to just didn't hold the same excitement as it usually does, and so the afternoon dragged. When work ended and it was time for dinner, I didn't head straight to the restaurant. Instead, I took a bit of a wander in an attempt to lift my mood before I had to face everybody. It wasn't a complete success.

Long story short: I managed to muster enough energy, sarcasm, wit and one-liners to last dinner without looking too ill, but after that I had to take a back seat to proceedings lest I collapse or something.


That, and told myself I had to get home and let whatever sickness I had run its course. I've already been nicknamed 'ebola monkey' at work for my ability to be the most cold/flu-stricken person and the most likely vector for infecting others with said cold/flu. I didn't want to give this group a reason to continue the nickname here.

So I'm looking for a scapegoat, but it's like asking about the chicken and egg situation. Now I've just been told that I should get some more sleep because I look like a zombie. That compliment just made me notice my throat flare-up again.

It's a vicious cycle...