On Bean Ill

Virginia Woolf was an incredible writer.

I hadn’t read a lot of her work before on account of the fact that she isn’t Stephen King (which I consider an automatic dealbreaker when deciding whether or not to try out a new author), but I recently came across her essay “on being ill” and was dumbfounded by her ability to so beautifully capture the sensation of illness whilst sick with influenza herself. How anyone could think in such clear and graceful prose while their body is being devoured by millions of parasitic micro-organisms is really quite a feat.

I mention this because I too have been feeling a bit ill myself these past twenty four hours on account of the navy bean soup that my Dad made for dinner last night. (Or, rather, the navy bean soup that my Dad found a recipe for in a magazine and asked me to cook.)

The soup itself was spectacular– a warm and hearty blend of veggies and beans and smoked sausage that perfectly complimented the cold and dreary weather we’ve been experiencing the past couple of days. The problem is that it was so spectacular and so hearty that I ended up eating about seventeen bowls of it– approximately six bowls per meal.

Sufficed to say, this excessive consumption severely dampened its spectacular-ness, and left me feeling a tad bloated and queasy– as seventeen servings of beans will do.

(I say “a tad,” but please understand that this choice of words is a gross understatement, you see I’ve been reading Virginia Woolf all day and as a result, my typical brash, irreverent writing voice has been temporarily replaced with a posh, turn of the century British one which I can’t for the life of me seem to free myself of. My deepest, most sincere apologies for any trouble or confusion this may cause throughout the rest of this post, I am dreadfully sorry indeed. You must understand though that when I say that I was feeling “a tad” queasy, I mean that my gut had inflated to roughly the size of an exercise ball and was emitting from it a series of very strange squeaks and groans that eerily resembled the call of Predator.)

Anyway, while I was in this bloated state, I remembered Woolf’s essay about being ill, and thought it might be fun, while I was in such a lousy state, to experiment with writing my own meditation on illness.

However, I don’t understand how anyone ever could do this, considering the only words blaring through my mind when I’m feeling ill are “DEAR JESUS CHRIST IN HEAVEN IT’S LIKE SOMEONE’S SHOVED AN AIR HOSE DOWN MY GULLET!” which is a significant step down from Miss Woolf’s delicate, flowing descriptions of “the wastes and desserts of the soul a slight attack of influenza brings to light” and “that mighty Prince with moths’s eyes and feathered feet.”

It’s really quite disheartening. No matter how deep I delve into my soul, no matter how much I scrounge through my lexicon for exactly the right words to describe this uneasy sensation pressing against my gut, all I can come up with is “GAAAAAH!!! IT FEELS LIKE THERE’S SOMETHING ALIVE IN THERE!”

*Sigh* Perhaps one day I will find the words to describe this intestinal beast, but for now, the only words I have to offer are “YOU’RE GONNA BLOW! GET TO THE BATHROOM NOW! RUN!!!” So I’m afraid I must depart.

Ta ta.

-S.P.

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