Oh, like anyone else, I hate to be sick. I hate the sweating that a fever induces. I hate the shake in my hand when I try to write. I hate feeling weak. And so, yesterday proved…interesting. I was walking down the main street downtown Kingston, with my bottle of Tylenol in hand from my little trip to Shoppers Drugmart to try to calm the fever I could feel rising in my skin. Suddenly, an overwhelming feeling like I was going to be sick. And it was going to happen immediately. I looked around, only to find a garbage can close by. I know you know where this is headed…I ran towards it…and threw up in it. I know. I’m disgusting. You can only imagine my embarrassment over the whole thing. There I am, in uniform, hunched over the garbage can (already smelling repulsive) to which I add to the delightfulness in the bottom of the can. I would be lying if I said that people weren’t staring. So, this guy who is walking by, obviously not married or dating anyone as he lacked any sympathy for humankind whatsoever, calls out, “NICE TO SEE HOW TOUGH OUR ARMY IS!” I had several automatic responses to this. First of all, an everlasting requirement to inform him that in fact, I am Air Force, not Army. Now, since that tidbit of information has been divulged, I felt a need to ask him if I am not meant to be human as soon as I put on my uniform. Of course, this entire dialogue was happening in my head, as I was too busy trying to skulk away from the embarrassing situation I created for myself, all while trying to wipe my mouth with a torn tissue from my pocket…oh man, it was so awful. Now I realize that my current medication high could be preventing me from seeing this situation from a normal point of view and please don’t think I’m unaware of how gross I was! But the comment from Mr. Insensitive is a comment I’ve dealt with so many times in so many different contexts. And come on! I was sick! It was 37 degrees with the humidex and I was wearing a wool hat and combat boots while he strutted by in shorts and a t-shirt!! Today I am feeling better and will head back to work tomorrow. But the message remains. I, like many others, may wear a uniform everyday. But no matter what, I am human. I get sick. I cry. I laugh. I have a family who loves me. So if you care to judge people based on their clothing or their job and the image you feel they should be projecting, take a moment to have compassion and consider the other things going on in that person’s life. In return, I’ll refrain from any further public previews of my breakfast.
FILED UNDER: under-fire