So I’ve been battling a cold: runny nose, sore throat, and feeling like I’d just like to crawl into bed and sleep for three or four days. Or rather that’s what I should do, but life goes on, even when it’s being invaded by a virus. When I was a kid colds seemed to have a perverse way of hitting me on days when I wanted to go to school, when there was a special event or a friend’s birthday happening. And in the morning I’d wake up with a sore throat and I’d sneak to the bathroom and practice saying “I feel fine” to make sure I sounded fine. And then I’d get panicky and not say anything except “I feel fine!” I’d be on the school bus and my friend John would sit down next to me.
“Hey, Chris, have you got an extra pencil?”
“I feel fine!”
As an adult I have even more responsibilities and there’s no way I can let even a cold get in the way. I have to get by on tea and cough medicine and various remedies and I have to get sleep when I can, which reminds me that I’ve never slept on a bus. Sure, the list of other things I haven’t done on the bus is almost infinite, but it’s kind of weird that I’ve never slept on a bus, not even on long bus trips from one city to another. That’s weird because on road trips in cars I never have any trouble going right to sleep as soon as we get on the highway and get going, which tends to upset people if I’m the one driving, but that’s another story. On buses I’m just always worried that if I fall asleep I’ll miss my stop and end up at the end of the line or, worse, in a weird repair depot or wherever it is they take buses to refuel them or do repairs, or just shut them down for the night. I can be a pretty heavy sleeper so there’s no telling what I might miss.
Once riding home from work I sat down across from a guy who was slumped back against his seat with his mouth open. He even snored a little, deep in Morpheus’s embrace. Lucky guy, I thought, but then I wondered where he was going. I assumed he’d ride the bus all the way to the end of the line, but you know what they say about assumptions: they’re like armpits. Everybody’s got a couple and some of them stink. We were several miles from the end of the line when suddenly he woke up, looked around, and pulled the stop cord. The bell dinged, the driver stopped, and the guy got off and walked away. I wish I could do that even when I don’t have a cold.