Aaaah, at last the sweeping November rains and biting November winds have once again arrived, and I’m lucky enough to have a good old fashioned head and chest cold. It’s one of those perfect sicknesses–the kind where you have enough drippiness and achiness, and just the right amount of fever, to keep your loved ones at the stove whipping up batches of hot toddies and honey and lemon tea, and keep yourself indoors and enjoying a guilt-free session of lethargic coccooning, without making you too miserable to really appreciate it.
It’s also a good excuse to inundate your body with homemade remedies, which in my case always involve food. The trick is to burn those microbial varmints right out of your system. Think raw onion sandwiches, steaming bowls of carrot and ginger soup (heavy on the ginger), glasses of Clamato juice generously laced with Worcestershire and Tabasco, chunks of Hoisin-marinated tofu and green beans buried under a pile of Vietnamese chili sauce, beef n’ veggible stoo with dangerously high levels of garlic.
I’m enjoying this homebody thing so much that once this cold has gone I’m thinking of cancelling as many social engagements as possible and extending the semi-isolation thing right through the end of the month. I’ll put on my hanging-out uniform (threadbare twenty-year-old bathrobe and faded corduroys), draw the red velvet drapes across the windows, light all the candles and incense I can lay my hands on for that cosy opium den ambience, and immerse myself in listening to music, reading Heidi to my daughter and Moby Dick to myself, and watching Inspector Morse mysteries on video.
Fortunately I’ve had the foresight in the last few weeks to stock up on some of the coccooning essentials. Aside from the aforementioned library items, I picked up some Wallpaper and Utne Reader mags from the recycling box at the organic food co-op. Miraculously finding some discretionary cash in the savings account, I hit the liquor store for a mix and match case of the best red wine that ten dollars a bottle will buy. Then it was off to the used record store and the neighbourhood Sally Ann thrift store to snag a few new-to-me rainy weather recordings, things like Wynton Marsalis’s slow-simmering masterpiece The Majesty of the Blues, scratchy old albums by Paul Horn and Jethro Tull, and a sublimely cheesy Putumayo collection called World Lounge.
Life is sweet when you decide to take some time off from pretending that you actually have one.