(Not) In the spirit

I’m having a hard time getting in the spirit this season. November knocked me out, first with a killer flu complete with fever, bad dreams and a deep cough, then a residual vertigo and persistent ennui. My daughter cooked our Thanksgiving dinner, which we limited to immediate family to prevent transmission of the virus. It was as good or better than any I have ever made, so I’m clearly dispensable now. I managed to sit at the table for one serving before retiring to the couch again.

I tried to rouse my spirits after a week by going to my regular Pilates class, but I didn’t last 10 minutes before I had to beg my instructor to hold me lest I topple off the table from dizziness. A few days later I showed up at a scheduled massage appointment, only to be told I would be better off in a hot bath of epsom salts, which was fortunately an option. It helped.

I’m hoping none of my readers have been similarly afflicted, but odds are, some of you have. In the first week of this plague, bed rest is all you can hope for. Between feverish dreams take a pain reliever and drink lots of water. Ask a caregiver to stock up on tea, lemons, honey and broth. Ginger ale (or Gatorade if you can stand it) will replenish electrolytes lost to fever. Saltines. Jello. See, I can’t even write in full sentences anymore.

If your world stops spinning long enough to turn on a screen, I highly recommend a PBS series my friend Mary recommended, “The Durrells of Corfu. ‘ It is based on the lives of the family of the author Lawrence Durrell as written by his younger sibling, Gerald. If you are a contributor to PBS it is free to stream. If not, perhaps you should be. Or try the library.

Whatever you do, don’t watch the news. It won’t help and it may well hurt. Instead, look for the Jerry Seinfeld stand-up special at “The Comic Strip.” He’s the last man in comedy, or perhaps the world, not to be implicated in a sexual harassment case. Laughing is good. It brings up the phlegm. Spit it out.

When you are well enough to get dressed—this will happen spontaneously one day. You will suddenly have the urge to wear underwear. Socks and other clothing will follow as the night the day. Take a walk outside. Not too far. There are thousands of pinecones within a few yards of your house. Gather them in a basket you remembered to bring on your walk. Don’t forget to wear a scarf to protect your fragile respiratory system. When you return, string the pine cones on a length of ribbon or twine and try to imagine sugarplums dancing in air. Hang your measly pine cone garland by the window to show your neighbors you care.

Gather all the holiday catalogs from the mail and look at them while drinking your 800th cup of tea. Take note of all the things you neither want nor need. Write checks to your favorite charities and non-profits instead. Toss the catalogs in a recycling container. When you are feeling better, shop small at places like the Indie-Mart in Narrowsburg next weekend. Write some holiday cards. Cheer up!


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