Do you feel as if you've spent the last 18 months, slowly succumbing to that tickle in your throat, the dull ache behind your eyes, which you didn't want to admit you had? It's just the sniffles, you said -- but even then, your voice cracked in a way that made you know the worse was still ahead.
Your mom told you to never to go outside in that kind of weather without a coat, but you thought, It's only 2011 -- what's it matter if I read a few blogs? This is what being an informed citizen is about! But before long you found yourself checking (and rechecking) Politico's Twitter feed, you had signed up to play "270 to Win" to craft your own campaign strategy, all the while downing some Rachel Maddow every night just to help you sleep.
Your forehead felt hot -- or maybe that was just the palm of your hand. After all, you couldn't miss the Republican primaries! Mitt! Herman! Michele! Rick Santorum-istan and T-Paw! "Oops" Perry and Moon Base Gingrich. Watching them was like witnessing the opening of a cosmic wormhole that let candidates club women over the head and drag them backwards through the women's liberation movement and refight the Civil War (Texans even talked secession) all at the same time.
Twelve debates in six months! That's more than you see your parents. Good thing you didn't. They would have sent you to bed.
It didn't really matter whether you considered the day a win or not. The president comes out in support of gay marriage? The Supreme Court says Obamacare stands? Dizzy with joy still means you feel dizzy.
You told yourself you felt fine. But really - -you weren't. Sure, you'd sneeze into the crook of your arm, like they teach little kids now; you cover your mouth when you cough. But still -- you noticed, your friends would back up a bit when they were talking to you. Someone even offered you a seat on the subway once.
It was full on, now -- but you still didn't want to call in sick.
Til the conventions finally did you in.
Clint Eastwood and the chair? Lyin' Paul Ryan being called out even by Fox News? The "Comeback Kid" came back! But you were bummed that the Democrats didn't fix the balloon drop. Everyone likes balloons.
One presidential debate in, and you're one with your sofa. With a sniffling, sneezing, coughing, achey I-wish-someone-would-come-home-just-to-pass-me-the-remote-because-I-dropped-it kind of lurgy.
You're coughing so hard you think you might break a rib.
You've finally admitted you're sick. The whole thing is sick -- a gross distortion
of once cherished democratic principles warped beyond the standard trifecta of greed, money, and power by ideological extremism, arcane electoral law, and a polarized media vacuum, lying atop new and highly-combustible tranches of money serving as a catalyst to a toxic chemical reaction with integrity, truth, and fact so badly disfigured it's unlikely they'll ever be recognizable again.
On both sides.
Shit. It was the haze. The haze is what made you sick.
Maybe it would be easier if you just slept here. The cold tile on the bathroom floor actually feels kind of good. Besides, it doesn't feel safe enough to go back to the bedroom. There's the vice presidential debate and two more presidential debates.
It looked like EtchasketchSandraflukeOsamaTaxes the last time you threw up. (It tastes like Youdidn'tbuildthat if you belch.)
Pain and nausea really do make time slow down.
My god, you never knew the birds started chirping this early.
Three weeks out. You allow yourself a flicker of hope that maybe the worst is over. The haze will start to clear. It'll work its way out of your system, like Big Bird memes fading from Facebook. If you just drag your sorry ass through the next little while, you'll start to feel better.
We'll all start to feel better.
After all, we can't even be stupid enough to do this to ourselves again. Right?