The Audacity of Illness in the Office

While my thoughts yesterday made it quite clear that I have difficulty focusing when sitting at home full of snot and sniffles, it certainly wasn't meant to be an endorsement of the alternative.

I returned to work today. And yes, I'm feeling a bit better. Hopefully, I'm on my way to feeling 100% in a couple days. Plans originally called for me to join Liz at a Killers concert at the Hollywood Bowl tonight. But I've reluctantly decided that's not a good idea. The thought of feeling worse again on Thursday isn't remotely worth it to me. Yet here I am, back at work telling people the very thing I despise hearing from others, "Well, I'm no longer contagious."

It's a lie. Well, actually it could be true. It's entirely possible that I'm no longer an infectious threat to those around me. Truth be told, I do feel a bit better. But I say it with such authority, with such confident vigor, so to ensure that others take it as fact. Why am I such a hypocrite?  I don't know, I guess I just don't want to be "that guy" who comes to work when they clearly shouldn't.

But why do I care?  Why should I feel uncomfortable saying that I have to come to work because the shitty benefits combined with my insanely undervalued salary means I can't afford to stay home another day? It's not like I'm the only one that feels this way. And if I try to Columbo-solve the mystery of how I got sick, there are several suspects in this very office.

There's a lot of talk on the news, from the government, and through memos passed around work that when you're sick, you MUST stay home. We have that whole swine flu  H1N1 thing to worry about!  HR even handed out mini hand sanitizer bottles for our desks. (Well... the cheap generic kind that's thick and smells like a chemical plant. It's the thought that counts, right?) Is the faux-Purell an admission of defeat?  Do they just expect us to bring the virus to work--as long as we wipe the germs off our hands before touching the door knob?  I don't know. 

All I know is that I DO feel a little better. And if declaring I'm not contagious means I don't have to over-explain myself, than so be it.  I made the effort. I went home when at my worst.  Hypocrite or not, I'll continue to be weary of those who claim they're germ-free without spending a bit of time healing up at home.  Wouldn't you?

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