Body of Proof

I have been sick since Thursday.  I could tell I was getting sick sometime Thursday afternoon when suddenly I no longer had the will to do anything other than watch every episode of Castle, then Modern Family, then (because I was relatively caught up on those series) Body of Proof that I had not yet seen.  Between Thursday afternoon and mid-afternoon Saturday (with a break on Friday to do a bit of translating and reading for class and on Saturday morning to go pick up a footstool for the living room) I managed to watch the whole of Season 2, all eighteen episodes (and counting).

Which was odd because I don't even really like Body of Proof.  At least, I didn't like the first season very much, particularly the relationship between Megan and her daughter.  But they seem to be patching things up better in the second season and, besides, Megan is finally getting a love interest (the former Captain Lee Adama, for those who follow these casting threads).  But so what?  Why did I care enough about these characters to spend nearly 48 straight hours (okay, so I slept, a bit; and every episode is only 43 minutes long, plus "limited commercial interruptions") watching their pretend lives?  Answer: I don't really.  Care, that is.  About anything right now.

Not entirely true.  I still care about my diet, which has been a struggle these past four days, being so sick.  I want comfort food.  I want carbohydrates.  I want something to make the pain go away.  But it won't.  Not if I eat carbohydrates.  Not if I watch a whole season of a television series that I don't really like.  Not if I spend hour after hour memorizing the ads on (anybody else have a ticket oak? and who is that guy in the double-your-miles-credit-card adds?) just so I can catch another glimpse of the impossible heels that Dr. Hunt wears whenever she goes out on a case.

Mind you, thanks to my diet, I am enjoying looking at her wardrobe more than I used to, imagining how I might look in those skirts and heels.  But otherwise, no, it's depressing watching episode after episode about people who die violently.  Right?  No, that's not the depressing part.  The depressing part is the heroism of everyone in the lab, who all do what they do not because it fulfills some higher purpose (okay, there is the motto over the lab--in Latin, no less--about this being the place where the dead teach the living, but they only invoke that occasionally), but because they are "just doing my job."  As if "doing one's job" is the single most virtuous thing that a human being can do.

I did my job today, even though I was still feeling wretched.  I went to campus to teach.  "It's my job," teaching.  At least, I'm pretty sure it is.  Sometimes, listening to my colleagues talk about things, I'm not so sure.  "Those who can, publish; those who can't, teach."  Or some such.  Did I mention that I wasn't feeling very well?  I am not quite sure what I have (thank goodness, I'm not dead yet, so Dr. Hunt wouldn't be able to help me--unless it was neurological.  Or diabetes.  Or...never mind, she's better than House at diagnoses, even when her patients aren't dead), but I know that it is the same fluey something that hits me at least twice a year, sometimes more, whenever I let myself relax even for an instant.  Which is telling (I was looking forward to a moderately relaxing weekend, having finally gotten more or less caught up with things--on which I am now, naturally, behind).  That is, my body is trying to tell me something, but do I listen?  Maybe I'll listen when I'm dead.

Which, hopefully, will not be for some time.  Dana Delany (I learn from is a good nine years older than I am, and look at how good she looks!  I confess, it gives me hope for my diet as well as my next decade to imagine that maybe there is life after 47, maybe even after 50.  By which time (gasp!) my son will have graduated from high school and even started college.  By which time I will be eligible to compete in the Vet 50s for the World Team.  Woo...ahem.  Right.  But do I care?  I have spent the past year and some shedding all sorts of ambitions that I had when I was younger: a house, promotion, a raise.  Maybe I'll get some of these things even so, but I don't really care anymore.  My dreams have died.

Partly because I realized that longing for them was making me miserable.  Partly because I realized that having them wouldn't make me as happy as I had imagined they would.  Partly because I realized that they were themselves implicated in the very vices of the world from which, as a Christian, I should want to escape.  And, indeed, when I'm not feeling sick, I do feel freer.  But at a cost: I don't know what to dream for anymore.  Time to write, yes.  Something to write about, that would be nice.  But fame?  Don't want it, it just brings you trouble.  A house?  Ditto; more expensive, more responsibility, and your family still won't come visit.  Promotion?  And how, exactly, would that change my life?  I would still have the same (wonderful) students to teach; I would still live in the same (magnificent) city.  There is nothing that I need that I do not already have right now.

So why am I still getting sick?  Why, if I have truly made peace with my life, is my body telling me different?  I grit my teeth in my sleep so much that I have to wear a night guard.  I am so clenched all the time that if I relax for an instant, I get the flu.  Something is wrong here, and I still haven't fixed it.  Maybe if I had a real job, the kind that they make television series about.  Saving people's lives.  Figuring out how people died.  Not just sitting around thinking (thinking?!!) about what certain dead people thought about things that nobody alive understands.  And this is going to save the world how?  (Don't answer that, it was rhetorical.)  I'm lonely.  There, I said it.  No, I'm an introvert, I find it stressful spending too much time talking to other people.  No, I'll admit it, I'm lonely.  I have no one to talk with in my department about my work.  (Is anybody from my department even aware of the fact that I have a blog?) No, I don't like talking about my work with other people, I find it frustrating.  So what is it that I want?

Somebody to appreciate what I've been doing.  How hard I work.  Yup.  That's it, now I'm crying.  I'm so tired and so much of the work that I do is so invisible.  Would anybody (other than my students) even notice if I didn't heroically "do my job"?   As if.  Most of my colleagues don't even notice if I am on campus, even when I am not on leave.  Mind you, I don't notice them either, but that is the kind of department we are.  We come together occasionally to talk about whom we want to join us (read, hire), then we go back into our offices (or homes, or archives) as quickly as we can to...what?  I'm not entirely sure what any of us do, other than myself, that is.  It's part of the reason I got the Dragon Baby: so I wouldn't be alone so much during the day.  But, then, wouldn't I hate being part of a team?  Having a boss to whom I had to answer and colleagues on which to depend?  Um.  I'm not sure, I've not had either since I was just graduated from college and spending the summer working in an office for the Houston Grand Opera.  It was also the last time I had to wear anything even remotely resembling business clothes, pace Dr. Hunt.

I could dress up more, be more public.  But, then, I suspect I would hate that, too.  Unless my clothes were as beautiful as Megan Hunt's.  Unless I had some place to wear them, where I was able to be publicly expert at something (okay, that's class, which I do enjoy).  Can you tell how sick I feel?  I just don't know where to stop.  Round and round, watching yet another episode, looking for answers, wishing that the dead would speak and tell me what they need me to know about themselves.  In order to make their case properly.  In order to save them from our misunderstanding.  In order to save ourselves from ignorance.

Now that would be a job worth doing.  If only it were mine.


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