Adult Flu-like Illness

I believe that all kids are sneaky and do things their parents explicitly ask them not to do.

Exhibit A: One of my besties, Punchy. Punchy's parents forbade her from eating Lay's and Cheetos when in school so guess what she did that one time after years of following the rules? She snorted lines of ground-up crisps off a random baby's belly on the side of the road, in broad daylight, for all to see. And see they did. She was caught red-handed within minutes, but that's not the point of this story.

Exhibit B: One of my other besties, Bum.

My point is, even the goodest of the goodie-two-shoes you knew growing up has 100% broken the rules a couple of times, whether that's by watching TV instead of doing their homework while the parents were out or, y'know, having sex instead of doing homework while the parents were out.



Sex is better than TV anyway. Look it up, aunty.

Oh, have I mentioned that my parents read this blog? Hi Mum! Hi Dad!

I can feel them holding their breath five thousand miles away from me. I can see the carousel of images floating through their minds right now. All the permutations and combinations in their heads are beginning to hurt mine.

I chose this. And they chose to stick it out with me.

But it's okay, mum and dad. I turned out alright if I may say so myself. But I won't deny breaking the rules every once in a while and keeping secrets from you, even though you've been my biggest confidants from the time I learned to articulate myself.

Ar-ti-cu-late. Let's actually do some of that now. Apologies for this rather hazy account of random events. My brain's still recovering from what you're about to read next.

In all the 28 years of my life that I actually remember, this is probably the worst time to get a cold. To sneeze on public transport. To blow your nose into a tissue at work. And worst of all, to emit a teeny-tiny cough while on the phone with your parents.

And because the timing in our lives has never been more on point (more on that soon), Shane and I developed "Adult flu-like illness" just as the Coronavirus cases in Scotland started to peak. Yes, that's the official diagnosis from our GP and yes, we went into self-isolation for seven days.

Just to clarify, no, we were not diagnosed with COVID-19. It's just "ADULT FLU-LIKE ILLNESS".

We worked from home when we felt well and able, and we napped, controlled our symptoms, and ate healthy the rest of the time. Life has been a bit crazy and stressful these past few weeks which probably contributed to our lower immunity but we got better and stronger nonetheless.

And we're fairly certain we haven't passed on our "Adult flu-like illness" to any other adults or children because we haven't seen other humans in what feels like a really long time. We've been keeping in touch with people purely by virtual means. And two of those people are my parents who, despite calling us every single day, did not even suspect for a second that we were ill and in self-isolation.

Here's how to do it if you're sick too and want to hide it from parents who panic easily:

  1. Never video-call them
    When your neighbour's child sees a reflection of you on their window and bursts into tears is when you know you look like shit because of da flu. If a baby can spot the difference, your parents sure as hell can too. Be ye not so stupid to video call them.

  2. Set an alarm and maintain a consistent schedule
    If there's a time of day when they're most likely to expect your call, pre-emptively call them on time so they subconsciously believe that all's well. You can go straight back to hell bed after that.

  3. Lie through your teeth
    Tell them you're getting late for work. Say work's going really well and share that joke your colleague made on that Skype call. But say they made it in person. Tweak the reality a bit. Always remember, the best lies are more or less based on the truth.

  4. Use the mute button on your phone. Often.
    If your parents are anything like mine, they'll do most of the talking anyway. So mute away and sneeze away and hopefully, the sound of their own laughter will drown the oppressive silence from your end after they've made a funny joke.

  5. Actively work on getting better
    Because the sooner you nuke your symptoms, the better your mental health will be. Panicky parents really do take a toll but so does keeping up pretences with the ones you love.

Most of you reading this don't need my tips, to be honest. You're either masterminds already or don't have the level of unhealthy emotionally-codependent attachment issues with your parents that I tend to exhibit. I've already budgeted for all the therapy I'll need when they die, which, hopefully, will be many many many years into the future so that the pot has sufficient time to fill up but listen, even talking about this is making me depressed. So no, let's talk about you instead.

Let's talk about those of you who actually need these tips I shared above. You, who like my best friends Punchy and Bum don't break a lot of rules but tend to get caught when you do. You, hey you. Welcome to the dark side. Don't get caught this time.

To end this post, I'll go for some closure for any of you who might be wondering what happened to Punchy in the story I started sharing at the beginning. If you're new to this blog and unfamiliar with my exaggerated style of story-telling, no, she didn't actually snort lines of crushed crisps off a random baby's belly. She actually did it off her forbidden boyfriend's chest. Following which, he spat into her mouth.

And when she got home, she found her entire family present to interrogate her. Turns out, her grandmother's driver was passing by the road when he saw her sinning. So, upstanding citizen that he was, he promptly reported the matter to the authorities and Punchy had to get teeny-tiny bits of crushed crisps taken out of her nose with a sharp tweezer.

And I bet that was much more painful than the flu. So stay safe and get good at lying to your parents, everyone! Dark times are upon us.