Yesterday, I took my first ever paid sick day. I have been sick and unable to go to work before, but it’s not the same. If you call out of your waitressing shift, you are a little bit of a dick, no matter how sick you really are. You have screwed the whole restaurant with your calling out. Now they are either down a man, or have to passive-aggressively bully someone into taking your shift. You now owe that person the cord blood from your first-born, if he or she is interested. Even if the server who took your shift says it’s totally fine and she needed the money and no worries, trust me, you were her mortal enemy for at least one hour.
So I’m not entirely comfortable calling out of work. I had to call my dad yesterday before I could work up the nerve to email my boss. Things like that are why my parents still think I’m adorable, even though I’m not so much late-twenties as pre-thirties at this point. He was like, “Is this the first sick day you’ve ever taken?” Sometimes, I am a YouTube kitten video.
My mom and the Awesome Opossum are the two people I contact when I am sick, which is really confusing because they have totally different philosophies on the human immune system. My mom, a tough as nails lady and one who could not afford to constantly stay home with her super asthmatic daughter, is the spokeswoman for mind over matter. She always says “Just go, you’ll feel better once you’re there.” One time, five minutes after she said that, we both spent the whole day in bed with a stomach virus. Gross, but hilarious. The Awesome Opossum on the other hand is a huge proponent of resting so you can be better tomorrow. Both have fair points. When I feel bad, I can feel them on my shoulders, one clad in Chico’s, the other Banana Republic, both making excellent points in my ear. When I can actually see them on my shoulders, I know I’m sick enough to stay home.
A few years ago, I was one hundred percent a disciple of my mother’s school of sucking it up. I hate to miss things because of sickness and I always like to think of myself as mentally tougher and stronger than some puny little cold or virus. But if my vocal trouble taught me anything, it is to listen to my body, even more than to the women on my shoulders. There times to stay in bed watching SVU and there are times when you (I) have to just man up and go to work or school or wherever it is that you go all day. I made the right decision coming back to work today. Even though I’m dizzy, I look fine. And we all know that is what really matters.