It takes a great deal of goading, threatening and pushing- and some bribing- to get me off to visit a doctor. In this case, what with my manager’s continual reminders and my roommates telling me that it would be good to see a doctor for my sore throat and cold, I didn’t really have much of a choice. I had to go to the clinic all by myself- not exactly an intrepid bit of action that would secure mention in the annals of history- but I’ve never done it earlier, so yes, it was a landmark in my life and times. However, it didn’t come without a bit of bribery. Though the clinic opens at 8, I decided to go there around 9 so I could visit the library, which opens at 10, and pick up something new. You see, since early this morning, I’ve had a real craving for any Bronte novel that I haven’t read, or maybe Thomas Hardy.
The decision to see the doctor turned out to be reasonably good, because it’ll help me recover quicker now, and hopefully put an end to the enemy-of-the-people looks that I get when I cough in public. Paranoia about swine flu grips society, and you can see several mysteriously masked men and women all over the place. Yes, they’re probably better off for all the precaution they take, but somehow you can’t help associating it a bit with a comic quotient. There you are, immaculately dressed in your best clothes, with a grossly mismatched mask strapped across your face. Weird. But extremely important, if you don’t want a nation down with the disease.
Consultation dispensed with, I made my way to the library. I have a sneaky suspicion Charlotte Bronte was reading my mind this morning when, browsing through Anne Bronte’s life, I felt that Charlotte had not been very kind to her sister, dismissing a masterpiece like The Tenant of Wildfell Hall for not having an appropriate subject- quite a progressive novel for those times, and so perhaps incurring the wrath of moralists and purists. Anyway, the point is, some sort of curse was cast and the library was still closed at 10.15 am, so I made my way home empty-handed, or to be precise, still bearing the books I was planning to return- Coetzee’s Slow Man and the Maisie Dobbs mystery Birds of a Feather. I haven’t read Maisie Dobbs yet, but set in the 1930s, I guess it’ll have to take the place of a nineteenth-century novel- for the moment.
On the way home, I bought some chocolate, which was promptly confiscated by one of my roommates. She says sugar is not good for a sore throat. She says I should have sugarless tea, avoid juice, avoid cake. For heaven’s sake, I tell her, it’s a cold, not diabetes. My manager asks me not to read. No ice cream, no pastry, no sugar, no books. This is what they call life?