It’s been a funny old week this week. I’ve had earache for most of it (and not a single person sent me sympathy cake – can you believe it?), so I’ve been a bit down. I have wanted to sleep forever (minus the odd loo break of course, pee-soaked sheets are not on the top of my wish list, thank you!) and I’ve been feeling really lethargic. And of course, to top it off, someone was doing building work near where I live, so the feeling of someone drilling into my brain through my ear was accompanied by the sound of actual drilling. Great. So yeah, I’ve been in a major sulk for most of this week. But really, can you blame me? Earache sucks.
Naturally, the incessant overactive analysist that lives in my brain and I had to look into things a bit deeper though (especially since the drilling and hammering stopped me from sleeping). Why, exactly, was I ill? What was wrong with me? How could I improve my situation? Have I done something wrong?
Now don’t get me wrong – I wasn’t looking for a physiological answer. I didn’t care why this illegal rave in my ear happened in a physical sense. Germs, bacteria, little gremlins from another dimension. Not washing enough, washing too much, a reaction to my hearing aids. Infections, viruses, biological warfare on a tiny, inner-ear scale. Doctors, medication, the whole shebang.
No, those weren’t the sorts of answers that I was looking for. Those answers are too easy and I certainly do not like to make things easy for myself! No, by asking why I was ill, I was searching for a deeper meaning, something profound and life-changing, something spiritual and philosophical.
“Why do I have earache?” I asked the world. “Why am I being tormented in such a way? Am I such a bad person that I deserve this pain?”
The world didn’t reply. Paranoia did though. Good old Paranoia, that personified little friend of mine who sneaks up on me when I’m feeling good with the pure intent of dragging me down.
“You’re working too much,” he said. “You’re exhausted. It’s no wonder you’ve got ill.”
“No,” I cried (quietly, so as not to hurt my ear of course). “You’re wrong! I love everything I do, how could it make me sick?”
“Give up your blog,” he says. “It’s pointless. The books too. Just do your day job and then come home to relax. Watch the zombie-box and vegetate. You’d make a good vegetable, you know…”
“But writing does relax me…” I tried to argue. He wouldn’t listen. Then of course Confidence had to pipe up too.
“No,” Confidence spat in the face of Paranoia. “It’s not too much work – it’s actually not enough work! She’s just being lazy.” He turned to me. “Now come on, stop this nonsense. You’re too awesome to be ill. Just suck it up and get on with what you’ve got to do. You are turning into a whiny little git, just like Paranoia.”
Well, Confidence is right about something at least – I am awesome. Awesome and achey, and thus a touch whiny.
“Maybe you’ve upset one of the gods,” Paranoia said, a touch too wistfully for my liking. I sighed.
“You really think so?” He really did.
“Well, you obviously deserve to be ill for some reason. What crimes against life have you committed recently?” he probed.
“Well…I…I once ate a two-fingered Kit-Kat without separating the fingers?” I said, a touch unsure. “I’m not saying it was a pleasant experience, and I certainly wouldn’t repeat such disrespectful behaviour, but it was a few years ago now; I was feeling rebellious and…I…” I lost my words amongst my shame.
“See, you really are evil,” he lamented. “You were bound to get ill after behaviour like that.”
He’s wrong though, Paranoia. He’s just being paranoid, the silly old git. Confidence too. They’re both fools. I’m not working too much or too little; in fact, I’m doing what’s right for me right now. And as for the Kit-Kat nonsense, is there really a ‘right’ way? (Yes is the answer, as much as I try to be a free-spirit, I just can’t be – not in this instance, at least).
And I was wrong too. I was wrong for looking for some deep and meaningful answer to the question of my earache. It’s all so obvious now that the earache is gone.
When I was a child, I asked my dad why we got ill and he told me that it’s because we’re like robots – sometimes robots break too, or need a bit of oiling or a part replaced – and we’re just like that. Sometimes, we need a bit of TLC, a bit of oil (and did you know? Olive oil is great for earache).
So the truthful answer to my question? There is no why, not in that sense at least. I got ill because I got ill and that’s the end of that. I sucked it up, I got over, I moved on and now I’m sat here wondering the whys of it all, me and that incessant overactive analysist in my brain. And so I ask the world: “what, exactly, was all that fuss about anyway?”