The Week Flu By


Anne Michael

I hope you’ve managed to miss the flu this year. I have not been so fortunate. I’d suspected that there was a flu bug in hot pursuit with all the traveling I’ve done in the past few months that made it far too easy not to get enough rest and all. On top of that I’ve spent a lot of time sitting in flying capsules full of coughing people in recycled air. To say that I have been miserable this week has been an understatement. You should have seen the look on the doctor’s face when he walked into the exam room and saw me huddled and shivering in a winter coat when it was 76 degrees and sunshine bright outside. “The flu,” he pronounced, handing me some prescriptions. “Go home and go to bed, and no work till Monday.”

I wish I could tell you that I’ve snuggled comfortably beneath a pile of covers and read voraciously the pile of books on my nightstand, but no. I’ve done pretty much nothing except sleep and, when awake, be miserable. Normally, I do not sit very still, preferring to push my way through illness. Missing work is an anathema, which aggravates almost everyone who cares about me. But if there has been anything that has given me pleasure this week, it is seeing my husband read a book instead of his usual trade journals and racing or computer magazines.

At the beginning of the year, my husband’s favorite cousin, Rich, had two massive heart attacks. Prior to that, Rich had no idea he had heart problems. Rich and Steve, being men of action and decision in their respective fields of endeavor, have not had much time or opportunity to enjoy each other’s company and have mainly kept in touch by phone over the years. When we knew that Rich was up for a bit of company, we drove across the state to visit. While the news isn’t the best a person could get, Rich displays a healthy sense of humor and a positive outlook that is inspiring. During the course of what was a wonderful visit replete with a divine lunch prepared by Rich’s loving and talented wife, Janice, who is a world-class cook, Rich regaled Steve about the works of W.E.B. Griffin. He is a rabid fan, and Steve appeared to be more than politely interested in the conversation so I found Griffin’s book, Hostage, in an airport bookstore on my last trip and surprised Steve with it.  

At first my handsome spouse showed more than a little reluctance at the prospect of reading a thick novel. While he appreciated my thoughtfulness, his enthusiasm for it was on about the same level he would display if he had been asked to unstop a clogged toilet.  

The book sat on the end table for days, until all of his other reading materials had been thoroughly scoured and devoured. Finally, out of desperation or a sense of obligation—I’m not sure which, and he won’t say—he picked up the book and started reading. The other evening as I lay on the couch swamped in self pity, Vicks Vaporub and quilts, I overheard Steve on the phone with his cousin pretending to cuss Rich out for recommending Griffin’s books and me for having provided the book. The laughter that followed as the guys entered into one of their intelligent and opinionated discussions cheered me.
But I’m not naïve. I don’t think my sweetie will become a rabid reader of novels in the way I am. However, I have not given up the fantasy of lazy summer evenings sitting on the lanai after supper reading together over after-dinner coffee or a glass of wine. That visual image is enthralling and almost magical. Besides, I think Steve looks adorable in his reading glasses, absorbed in the pages of a book as he sips absently at his iced tea. It’s enough to make me fall in love all over again.

Since the flu has me sidelined and I can’t go shopping for the perfect Valentine’s Day gift as I had planned, I fired up my laptop from my nest of blankets and ordered a few more novels by Griffin for my sweetie. He’s sure to be delighted.

In the meantime, my advice for you, dear readers, is to find a book too intriguing to put down this week and, if you see that flu bug anywhere near you, smash it with the book!

At age 10, Anne realized she was never going to get to be Miss America since reading a book was not an acceptable talent. So she went on to get a job and raise a family. Along the way, she fixed meals, picked up toys, helped with homework, and collected a drawer full of rejection slips for her “great American novel.” It was not all bad, however, since she ended up wallpapering a closet with them. She currently designs and creates greeting cards for her tiny company, The Frog Prints, LLC, and also works full-time as a Training Specialist. Anne is currently tethered to reality by a loving spouse, two dogs, one cat and the occasional hurricane that blows through Florida, although falling headlong and happily into a book is still her favorite “talent.” She can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


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