Friday morning I woke up as usual. I threw on a hoodie over my pjs as usual. I shuffled out to the kitchen, ate a bowl of cereal, and drank a glass of orange juice, all as usual.
As usual, while eating I scanned the newspaper George had already retrieved and set at my place. Then, as usual, I shuffled back into the kitchen to prepare my usual bucket o’ latte. As I waited for the steam to build up in the espresso maker, a common (or one might say “usual”) sensation came over me.
For the rest of the day, things weren’t quite as usual. You see, when I sneezed, my head was obviously not in its usual sneezing position. I know this because a jolt like an electrical shock shot through the back of my head, neck, and shoulders. I crumpled and yelped. When I tried to straighten out my shoulders, my muscles felt as sore as if I’d hiked 30 miles with a 50 pound pack poorly situated on my back and head. (Not that I’ve ever hiked 30 miles with a 50 pound pack poorly situated on my back and head. I mean, think about it. George doesn’t even expect me to hike out to the curb and get the morning paper. You think the man would let me carry a 50 pound pack situated anywhere in any fashion? No. We’re using our imaginations here. As usual.)
It hurt to turn my head to either side or to look down or up. George said I must have pulled a muscle when I sneezed. He tried to rub my neck and shoulders, but the pain was just sort of everywhere. The massage didn’t really help.
Later in the afternoon when Rusty brought Jacob home, I was typing at the computer. Rusty knew something was up when I slowly turned my upper body to face him instead of just my head. I told him the whole story. (This, too, is usual. Rusty hears lots of stories from me when he brings Jacob home. I must admit he bears it well.)
Rusty said, “Maybe if you sneeze again . . .”
The look I gave him discouraged further speculation on that line.
George said, “I could tie a hot-water bottle on your back, and you could wear a jacket over it.”
“And look like a hunchback?” I said.
George and Rusty laughed. As usual, they weren’t being very sympathetic.
That night I took an ibuprofen, but every time I moved, the pain woke me up. Yesterday it was still there only much less severe. Today I just feel a little sore and stiff, so it looks like things will soon be as usual as ever.
Thus ends Jeanne’s adventures out of her usual realm and into the perilous territory of sneezing with her head in the wrong position. No doubt you’ve all been on the edges of your seats, holding your collective breath, and clinging to every last word.