How do people do it? Function, that is, with a headache. How? I woke up this morning feeling as if my poor thin lopsided skull was being crushed in a gigantic vice in some ogre's basement. I am not shy of drugs -- no homeopath, I -- and so I crawled to the medicine cabinet and took everything that contained the word pain in the symptom description. That was pretty much everything except the shaving cream and I was tempted, I tell you.
That was five ... no, six minutes ago. I am still not better. What is with these pharmaceutical companies? How can they put out shoddy products and expect people to go on using them? The pain is still there. I've read about pain being exquisite -- not mine. Mine is brutal, like being hit in the face with a two by four, over and over.
Maybe I'd be better if I was used to headaches, but, I don't get them often. This particular wrong note in the melody of my life is the first in years. How do people who do get headaches -- and I know people who seem to get them daily -- how do they cope? I'm a wreck. Eight minutes now.
The point of this post was supposed to be the uses of gratitude, but I got sidetracked. Sorry. Garbage day today, and I am listening for the hiss of air brakes that means the garbage truck has turned the corner onto my street. When I hear it, I will run outside to help Mike -- that's the garbage guy's name -- load my bags and boxes into his truck. One Friday last year I happened to be out when he came by, and out of courtesy I helped him throw some of the stuff in. And the look on his face was almost ecstatic: St What's-her-name with the beatific vision. Thanks, he said, stumbling over the word. No problem, I said. And he drove away. And the following week I was up and working, and I heard the truck round the corner and thought, well, why not. He had seemed so grateful. So I went out and helped him again. And that time our conversation stretched to include the weather. Colder, Mike said. Sure is, I replied.
And so it has gone on. My Friday morning ritual includes a trip to the roadside. Mike's and my relationship has not deepened much -- the weather is still a staple of our conversation -- but he gives me a wide yellow smile on arrival, and waves on departure. When I miss a week because I'm travelling, he comments the next week. I suppose I could feel his gratitude like a tyrant's yoke, forcing me to help him with his job, but I am happy to widen my circle of contacts. And it has paid off. When I saw Mike in the supermarket a couple of weeks ago, he directed me to the in-store special (two for one spaghetti sauce) which I might have missed otherwise. Hang on, here he is now....
.... And I'm back. You know, Mike could tell I wasn't feeling well. He asked what was wrong. When I told him I had a splitting headache, he said, Hey, that's too bad. Usually you look pretty happy, he said.