So I was reflecting this morning to Jody about how I’m bad at letting people know when I feel like crap. I have two stories that came to mind about times when it would have been really good for people to know I wasn’t anywhere near the top of my game.
First story: Spring of 2004 I went to England for a week to try to sort out all the stuff I needed to do in order to go there and study at King’s College London for a while. The night before I left, I realized I was coming down with a cold, but I didn’t exactly have the financial resources to reschedule the trip.
So off I went to the Big Smoke with my virus to meet up with some blogging buddies from the UK and get all my duckies in a row to move back there in the fall. I got no sleep on the plan as I had the aisle seat and my seat mate had a tiny bladder and somehow every time I actually fell asleep, instead of just sitting there with my eyes closed, he woke me up to get out. Every stinking time.
Of course it was an all-night flight as those are usually less expensive and only having a week to be there, I wanted to maximize my time as much as possible.
But by now, I felt like crap. So I loaded up on cold meds and waited at the dorm I was staying at for my blogging buddy Pete to pick me up to go find some food.
Somehow I negotiated the first few days okay, but by the end of the week the strain of being sick, in an unfamiliar city, staying in a bad part of town that I didn’t want to walk around in after dark, so I’d go back early with supper and hang out unable to sleep, the strain of all of that left me with a spinning head and unable to see straight.
And so it was after hanging again with my long-suffering blogging buddy Pete and other blogging buddy Si, the one from Northern Ireland with the lovely rolling accent, that I was at their church to hear a guest speaker, and we were all supposed to go to the pub later. I was exhausted and just wanted to go get some food, but not knowing where the aforesaid pub was, I was waiting on them to finish up conversations and such so we could get out of there. Finally I went to see if they were ready to head out, walking up to Pete (remember, I can’t see straight) and said, “Are we going or what?” Only to realize he was having a conversation with the guest speaker of all people. I was so embarrassed, but I realized afterwards that while I apologized, I don’t know that I ever once told him how crappy I was feeling, and the lack of that info probably left me in the obnoxious American category for all of time, but ah well.
Second story: I was invited to speak at a youth ministry conference a few years ago, and was really excited about the sessions I had come up with and sharing those with the attendees. The conference was in Atlanta and I drove down there from Nashville the first night, arriving long after dark, and driving in Atlanta traffic on highways that had those pesky green posts that I think are supposed to make the whole oncoming headlight situation better, but since flashing lights trigger migraines for me, sitting in Atlanta traffic was like being strobed for an hour.
I got a migraine so bad, I didn’t sleep because the pain was so intense. But since I wasn’t throwing up, I didn’t tell anyone and attempted to lead my sessions anyway, albeit, not in my best form. I didn’t even manage to fill up the hour and a half each, topping out each session at around 50 minutes because I couldn’t apparently remember how to involve the people attending, and simply spoke my content part, which wasn’t long enough as I’d planned for more interaction.
I even had a chance to tell the organizer of the conference when he asked me how my sessions had gone, but do I tell him I’ve got this horrendous headache and didn’t sleep? Of course not! Instead, I mumbled something about how they were a little short, but don’t explain why.
So the conference doesn’t get to experience me anywhere near my best (and I’m a pretty good speaker actually 😛 ) and I’m left forever wondering if they didn’t invite me back because I got bad reviews, when it might have helped them decide that the 50% or so really good reviews were excellent given that I felt like crap.
I write this to tell the world: I feel like crap. I have a head cold, complete with a nasty sore throat, and I just want to sleep all day, something mamas of 10-month-olds can’t actually do.
So if I’m weird, tunnel-visioned, or anti-social the next few days, it’s because, I feel like crap.
There. That’s better.