People say that staying in at the weekend is an underrated concept.
And you know what, I can get down with that sentiment.
After all, archetypal bookworm that I am, I’ve mastered the art of being a recluse. Maybe I’ll go for a run before settling in for quality, horizontal me-time, or perhaps I’ll indulge in an episode or two on Netflix, but I’m often glad for those quiet do-nothing days.
As long as it’s on your terms, staying in has its plus points. Embracing your inner introvert can be good for you. A quiet night in can give you time refuel, catch up on the life admin you’ve accrued, save some pennies at the end of the pay-month. However, if it’s not on your terms, it can really truly suck.
Because despite having plans this Halloween Weekend – one that was going to be thoroughly spooktacular at one friend’s birthday and another’s fiendishly deviant Danse Macabre – I spent 95% of a long weekend in bed. By myself. With Netflix and pills (not the fun kind).
The problem is this: Winter is coming.
For weeks now, we’ve seen the signs. The darkening days, the yellowing leaves, and the zombie army staggering to wakefulness. Infecting public transport, contaminating classrooms, polluting offices – without resorting to hibernation, there’s no way to avoid these harbingers of disease. They refuse to stay home.
Apparently the British are useless when it comes to staying home when we’re sick. The art of being invalided has been forgotten. Many simply opt for those great cure-alls (Lemsip and Soothers) and expect instantaneous miracles that never come. And thus you end up squashed up against some snotty stranger on the tube, or sat with your friend as they swaddle themselves in self-pity, because struggling through work in a tide of tissues and discomfort is – for reasons unknown to man – the modus operandi of the Great British Unwell.
Won’t lie, though. I’m guilty of all of the above.
Having caught the initial lurgies, I refused to admit defeat and ploughed on despite possibly spreading the contagion. Now, a few weeks later, I’m back in bed, pumped full of multiple kinds of penicillin, and more miserable than Eeyore after a natural disaster.
I have consequently complained about everything. There’s the actual illness itself (a particularly angry case of tonsillitis), the amount of pills, the taste of said pills, the rules of the pills, the fact that despite the pills I almost feel worse, the fact that whilst everyone else was out dressed like The Walking Dead, I got to experience the boundless joy of being the walking dead.
Part of the issue is I love Halloween.
Seeing some of the friends I don’t see as often and meeting a bunch of new people (as you inevitably do at other people’s parties) was also top of the ‘why Halloween is exciting’ list. Especially as I was hoping to introduce my two favourite Scots to more of the London crowd.
The bigger issue verges on pathetic: major, millennial FOMO.
FOMO (fear of missing out) is something of a predilection perfected by the information age. Experienced when you see photos of all of your friends hanging out together without you, FOMO is one of those things social media has refined to an art. It’s the lurch of sadness when you realise that you can’t accept that awesome invitation because your mother’s cousin’s daughter has had a baby and you’re obligated to go to the Christening. Or, as in this case, seeing everyone else embrace their inner ghoul when you’re foetal on the sofa watching reruns of zombie shows and Jeremy Kyle USA, which are kind of the same thing anyway.
Oh sure it’s not like you expect the world to stop turning because you’ve caught the plague. Just, you wish you’d stayed off social media long enough to miss the photos of the thing you missed out on.
My flatmate more consciously decided she just couldn’t be bothered leaving the house on Saturday. Having chosen to stay in on her terms, she was pretty chilled. However, even she commented on how weird it was to see everyone’s pictures going up Facebook and Instagram without any to add herself on Sunday.
Being a zombie could be worse.
Not only am I not several over-priced G’n’Ts poorer nor still finding trace amounts of purple makeup behind my ears, but I finished reading Martin Amis’ Money (I’m still reeling from the plot twist at the end). The wonderful Inka came over to watch Nightmare On Elm Street (now that’s a decent horror film). Plus, half way through the course of antibiotics I’ve learnt that green tea is the best way to disguise the terrible taste.
Rationally, I know there was no way I would have had a good time even if I’d tried to rally. I still feel like there’s a fog curdling in my head and a golf ball studded with tiny spikes in my throat. And sadly, I’m not into that scene.
Knowing this doesn’t stop me from wishing this stupid sickness had better timing.
Or that I was less British when it comes to being an invalid.