It's Fine Until It's Not

Last night the heat stopped working, but I didn’t believe the heat had stopped working. Instead, I stood in the kitchen, blinking at the blanked-out thermostat, shivering, and telling myself to stop being such a baby. 

Stop shivering, you dipshit, you’re inside. 

It’s probably not broken, it would be flashing some kind of “broken” message.

Plus, you get cold when you type on the computer. Or when you’re over-tired. Or when you’re sick. Oh, you’re refusing to be sick, too? OK, good talk.  

It was 58 degrees in the center of the apartment this morning. Colder in my room, where I slept for one thousand hours, avoiding contact with the wood floor. 

I am expert at excuses. Not the kind where you try to get away with something illicit or where you bend the rules - with those excuses I am rotten. No, my excuses describe the many reasons why everything is fine. Until it most definitely is not fine.

I passed out at a catering job in high school after taking too much cold medicine, pretending I was not sick. 

In fifth grade I broke my wrist, but kept making a fist, so no one believed it was broken for a few hours. It did hurt, but I didn’t want to wear a cast for the Bradford Woods field trip. 

Just after Christmas in 2012, I got sick enough to go to the doctor. He told me if my cough did not get better in the next two days, I likely had pneumonia, at which point I should come back. I did not come back. I did, however, give myself a broken rib from all the coughing. Which I obviously didn’t believe until a different doctor told me, while I leaned against things as a replacement for “standing.” But I was FINE. 

I may possibly be the only person who visits Web MD to confirm the things I do not have. 

“Oh, but see, here it says blinding pain in the abdomen, and I just have a pinchy thing, so it can’t be bad.” 

And I do it with everything. My frame of reference is “the worst experiences I’ve ever had,” and if it’s less than that, or new enough to confuse me, it must be OK. My first year of teaching was the worst year of my life. I only know that because the second year was marginally better, and I had some space to admit things. Every year since, if my job is a step up from dodging death threats and eating only peanut butter, I consider it a win. 

For almost eleven months, I lived with THESE psychos. It was slow. Like the beginning of a cold, when I think I’m just suddenly thirsty. I didn’t have much choice. I moved in after breaking a heart and a lease and I gave up all my stuff in a fit of guilt and convenience. It was fine, at first. It was slow and it was fine and then, somewhere in April it was NOT FINE. 

My current roommate sent me a snapchat of our thermostat this morning, with the caption, “I think the heat is broken.” Which is when I believed it. I did feel cold.