Sometimes bad things happen.
Sometimes, when you look back at a horrendously bad time in your life from the comfort of a future safe place, events don't seem quite as bad as they did when they were happening. Things might not have been ideal, but perhaps they weren’t quite so devastating as first thought.
They say that the benefit of hindsight is 20/20 vision, but I think that’s all wrong. All that hindsight does is smooth over the sharp edges of old and unpleasant memories. It’s like alcohol, or xanax. It’s a time illusion – the longer the gap between the actual event and the recollection of it, the less negative the event seems. Time has a way of muffling the cries and somehow comes to repair the unraveled stitching of our lives. Amazing.
So if you’re a glass half empty subscriber, you might say that things could have been better. Your cousin, glass half full, will remind you that things could have been worse. But then again, ‘better’ and ‘worse’ are relative terms and relative terms are devoid of all meaning.
Sometimes bad things happen. What of it?
“Such is life” is what the French existential philosophers will tell you (I imagine), while sipping on a chardonnay and taking a bite into a baguette. Three simple words to remind you that life is a crazy mash up of unpredictability.
I didn’t think about any of this as I crawled into the bathroom of the hospital emergency room I was taken to two months ago where I was violently ill with what was later identified as gastro.
Here's introducing bad thing #1
Gastro is a horrible thing to have. It led to my passing out from dehydration in the hospital emergency room. Hospital emergency room. Three simple words to make you appreciate every moment of health and vitality you’ve ever experienced and to make you shudder at ever having answered “not bad” when asked “how are you?” – unless of course you really weren’t well.
The hospital emergency waiting room is a very strange place. It's one of the only public places, in fact, it might be the sole public space, where every human bodily function, no matter how disgusting or abhorrent, is permissibly tolerated by a mass of unknown onlookers.
It really is a space where anything could, and does, go. Whether it be moaning, groaning, belching, farting, dry reaching, vomiting, or convulsing, there is room for it in a hospital emergency room near you!
As it turned out, I was sicker than most that were in there that Thursday night. And yet I still made a conscious effort to excuse myself from the company of my fellow compadres and crawl over to the bathroom to empty my body of all my internal organs rather than allowing them to witness my fall from grace. It is vastly important to maintain social awareness and decorum at all times. It was such a pity that I was the only one following the unspoken rule of ‘if you need to spew, do it privately.’ People are too comfortable with sharing things these days. I blame Big Brother – the tv show, not the George Orwell character.
I’ll end by saying that in the days and weeks following that first harrowing night at the hospital emergency room, I came to think an awful lot about those French existential philosophers...
To be continued,