When things go wrong, or my plans change, I am like a man with a cold.
We have all encountered the man-cold, even if as removed from us personally as the guy behind us in line for coffee. A man with a cold is a man beaten and betrayed by life. He is not Feeling Well. He may have sniffles or a slight headache or some pressure around his eyes. It’s not like being hung-over, which a man can deduce is self inflicted. No, a man-cold is an unwanted, uninvited imposition.
When under the man-cold, a man tends to want and need constant attention. He does not stray far from comforts. He usually stays at home, in bed, overwhelmed. He tends to want his mother. He tells everyone about his condition, and it is a frequent posting on Facebook updates. Sometimes the updates are hourly. 140 characters on Twitter is not enough to capture just how bad he feels. He emails friends to tell them he will need to cancel all future plans, even months in advance, because of the man-cold. He does not know if he will recover.
My husband went out of town on business this week. This happens with some frequency so although I don’t like it and it obviously stresses me more, I know the routine.
We are a busy family and often have more than one activity happening at the same time after school and work. The kids are often needing to be in two different places at the same time. I have a fairly set schedule of activities that I do on my own and with my training group. It’s a lot for one person to manage; in fact, it’s impossible to do it all alone. And this does not include the day-to-day of getting kids to and from school, making lunches, doing homework, and making dinners. Then I have to go to work. (Please take a moment to bow down to any single parents you know. They are Super Stars.)
I looked at the week ahead and it was making me feel Not. Well. I was overwhelmed and I needed help. I was panicking. I needed my mother. We booked her a flight so she could be the other-half when I needed it.
My mom did not arrive. She lives in a small town that has an airport nestled in between two steep mountains. The rule is that if the cloud cover obscures the view of the mountaintop no planes land or take-off. In the past week, of 3-4 flights per day, only two flights have actually landed. That happened two days ago.
I have called two babysitters. One didn’t call me back and the other is busy.
I hate changing plans; I hate to give up a run. My long runs are precious to me, especially given that I need the physical and mental exertion to maintain my sanity.
I posted my displeasure on Facebook. I emailed a friend to tell her about my brutal injustice. I actually did send texts to two of my running friends to tell them I would not be able to make the run. I was suffering from a man-cold, because my plans had changed.
I sent a text to my husband letting him know of my self-destruction. Then I followed up with 4 or 5 more texts. He is half-way around the world. He is ahead in time by a day, the water drains in a different direction, and the cars drive on the opposite side of the road. He really is far away.
husband Saviour contacted some friends and arranged for child care. I didn’t want to do this because I need to be on my way by 8 am (that’s in the morning) and it seems like such a huge imposition. I had already begged and pleaded with my brother-in-law (with two kids of his own, one of whom they are sleep training and thus count sleep in minutes per hour) to take the kids in the afternoon while I am at yoga. Who, in their right mind, takes care of kids at 8 am on Sunday morning? I’m usually out running at this time, but that’s a different kind of crazy.
These are kind friends to do this for me. They are good people to be awake so early.
You may wonder while I seem so animated and flummoxed about having to change my plans for one day. Am I so spoiled that I cannot give up one day of exercise, even just one run? We all have our quirks and our intolerances. To understand, please look no further than the man who is sniffling nearest you. Look no further than the manifestations of effects of the man-cold. For me this is my man-cold. And my mom did not come.
(Photo credit: Dave Hoefler), (Photo credit: stevegarfield)