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Empathy, what's that?



I don’t know about the rest of you ladies, but whenever my husband — or anyone else in my family for that matter — gets sick with a stomach virus or the flu or a common cold, I’m about as empathetic as a five-pound bag of potatoes. 

When my husband Chris gets sick I’m okay with it for about three hours, but any discomfort he may have that lasts longer than that is apt to start my eyes to rolling. I don’t have any idea why I do this, and, while I’m doing it, I actually realize how mean it is. And I keep right on doing it. 

People my age typically try to work on their problem areas, trying to curb some of their bad habits. Instead, when Chris gets sick I tend NOT to be nice to him. This time it has taken me five days to bring him a glass of ice water or to offer to open a can of soup for him. I’ve watched him go through a giant box of Kleenex, and three rolls of toilet paper after he ran out of the Kleenex. Did I offer to go to the store for more tissues? No. Did I offer to make him some hot tea? No. Did I roll my eyes and ask him to please pick up the tissue he dropped on the floor? Yes. Did I secretly calculate just how many rolls he was using, cutting into my enormous toilet paper supply? Yes. I’m not proud of this. 

My ambivalence towards Chris’s cold may be partly due to the fact that I’m jealous that he’s home while I’m having sciatica spasms every time I bend down to put a book on the bottom shelf at the library where I work. If I had any sense at all I’d enroll in some old lady yoga class. For some reason I fancy myself above stretching. I like to pretend the extra 50 pounds I’m  carrying around are fine just where they are, and they definitely do not keep me from being 100 percent. On the contrary, the extra 50 is still less than that 67-pound bag of fat that Oprah wheeled out on stage in that Radio Flyer a while back. I’d never let it get to 67 pounds, please, that’s way too fat. 

All week long, every time Chris blows his nose I’m thinking, “What the hell? When’s this going to stop? Can a person make himself sneeze? That’s it, I bet he’s doing this on purpose.” 

Who thinks this way? Taking every single crappy thing that happens in the universe as a personal affront is sort of my hallmark. Sometimes I secretly cry at those UNICEF commercials and yet I ask my own husband when he thinks he might wrap up this cold nonsense, because I’m so over it.

You know karma is out there, and it’s only a matter of time before it comes back around and bites me in the ass. 

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