I've been ill the last couple of days. Not bad enough where I felt like I wanted to die, or send for a priest to perform Last Rites -- just a general feeling of sickness and ickyness.
It was bad enough for me to call out sick Saturday and Sunday, though. I thought I'd get alot of flack for it. They're our busiest days at the restaurant after all, and me not showing up means everyone else has to work harder.
But Cathy (the floor manager) was very understanding about it, mainly because I never call out. I've called out sick only once in the year and half I've been at this restaurant and maybe twice more in the four years I was at the other restaurant. Considering there are some servers who call in sick every other week, that's not bad at all.
Most times if I'm sick I just go to work anyway, take Actifed, DayQuil, Pepto-Bismol, or Extra-Strength Tylenol (depending on my symptoms) and just struggle through it, blowing my nose in the server's station between tables and complaining bitterly to anyone who will listen how horrible I'm feeling. That's partially because they're depending on me to be there and do my job, but mostly because if I don't work, I don't get paid. Not only am I lying there in bed, miserable, but there's no money coming in. If I'm miserable anyway, I might as well work, right?
(I know when I work when I'm sick I'm just spreading germs around everywhere, and that's terrible, but sometimes you don't have the luxury of calling out, especially if bills are due.)
Anyway, I've spent the last two days doing almost nothing more than lying around in bed, drinking tea, watching TV, and reading. Relaxing, yes, but also very, very boring. I'm feeling OK today, though. Not up to 100% --more like 97.4%-- but I'm feeling almost human for the first time in a few days.
Mondays and Tuesdays are my normal days off, but a co-worker asked me yesterday If I'd work the second half of his double shift today because he has a doctor's appointment. I told him it depends on how I'm feeling.
He didn't like that answer. Most people don't --they prefer a firm yes or no-- but what else could I say? There was no way of knowing yesterday how I'd be feeling today. Plus, I'll admit I was trying to weasel my way out of it.
I always say "I'm the boy who can't say no", but that's not entirely true. I can say no, but whenever I do, I end up feeling guilty about it -- even if there's no reason I shouldn't.
I get this from my mom, I'm sure of it.
I remember one time when the PTA asked my mother to make something for the Bake Sale to help raise money for something-or-other. She hesitated for only a moment, but then she said okay. Later, she was baking in the kitchen, muttering under her breath how she had enough to do without having something extra added to it.
"Mom," I asked, "If you didn't want to do it, why'd you say yes?"
"Well, all of the other mothers are making something," she replied while mixing batter in a bowl, "How would it look if I was the only one to say no?"
She was baking an anti-guilt cake.
So, I'm trapped in a dilemma. Should I work for my co-worker, or shouldn't I? It's entirely up to me. Any kind of question like this starts an internal dialog/debate that's totally exhausting.
It's like being caught between Scylla and Charybdis. Or as I like to think of it, caught between Graciousness and Selfishness.
+ If I say yes, then I spend one of my days off where I'm almost feeling like myself again slaving away in that dammed restaurant.
- If I say no, then my co-worker is going to have to struggle to find another way to make his doctor's appointment. (Technically, that's not really my problem, but his asking me kind of makes it my problem, if you get my meaning.)
+ If I say yes, I can make up (somewhat) for the two days I was lying around not making money.
- If I say no, the story is going to get around the restaurant that "Jimmy could have worked for me, but he chose not to". (Just like mom in that PTA story above.)
+ If I say yes, I might make myself worse. I'm not really feeling 100% better, after all.
- If I say no, I'll be spending yet another day in the house, in bed under the covers drinking tea. How boring is that? Plus, I've worked before feeling worse than this.
And on and on and on.
Does anyone else go through this kind of internal struggle, or is it just me?
Well, just to end the suspense, in a few minutes I'll be getting ready for work.
Selfishness lost the battle this time, I guess. I still have my day off tomorrow, though, and I'm not working for anybody, no way, nohow! You can be sure of that.
P.S. I almost forgot today was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday. I usually go watch the parade, but I won't be making it this year.
Happy b-day anyway, MLK!