It's still February. Which means it's not spring yet, and definitely not summer yet.
And I'm sick. I hate being sick. I mean, obviously, everyone hates to be sick. No one walks around, licking sick people in the hopes of catching a cold of their own.
But I hate having a cold, I hate the way the back of my throat gets rough, and my throat hurts, and I just generally ooze.
I also hate the way other people back away from me, as if they will catch the terrible short-term disease I've come across. Excuse me, but I am already coughing into my sleeve the way Capital Health wants me to, and disinfecting the desk at my office constantly with Lysol.
What else do you want from me?
Anyway, this all makes me wonder about Meg Ryan.
Have you ever noticed Meg Ryan getting sick in a film is the turning point in a romantic comedy?
In You've Got Mail, it's a red-nosed, bleary-eyed Ryan that Tom Hanks finally reveals his love to. In Sleepless in Seattle, it's a stuffed-up Ryan who realizes she should cross the continent to find the love of her life after hearing his voice on the radio. When Harry Met Sally's tearful, snuffly Ryan finally gets it on with Billy Crystal (okay, so in that case she's more heart-sick than sick, but still, she's pretty gross).
The Meg Ryan Is Sick Turning Point is not the first time illness has been used to bring on the romance, however.
In her day, Jane Austen was a huge fan of sending her characters to bed for a day or two in order to bring on a plot twist.
Mrs. Bennet's plan to show off the virtues of her eldest daughter, Jane, gets totally twisted around in Pride and Prejudice when Jane falls deathly ill because she walks in the cold rain. She has to spend days at the Bingley home. The only benefit is it sends Elizabeth after her, putting her in direct contact with the snooty Mr. Darcy, who is ultimately her soulmate in pride and prejudice.
(And, I guess it shows the Bingleys that the Bennets are not an altogether embarrassing family to get to know, even if Mrs. Bennet is outrageous.... which ultimately paves the way for Jane's happiness, too.)
That's Austen's first published book. Her last, Persuasion, also sends a character to bed. This time the ridiculous Louisa Musgrove, whose playful day trip turns for the worst when she falls off a low stone ridge and nearly dies. We think. It's all very serious by 19th century standards. Miss Musgrove being bed-ridden, however, ultimately gets her out of the way and enables the ever-patient Anne Elliott to get her man, Capt. Wentworth.
Why is being gross and bed-ridden and cough-y a plot twist to bring on the love?
When I am these things, the very last thing I want is some guy bugging me with roses or poetry. I look gross at the moment. My hair is not done. I really just want to watch bad television and groan periodically into my pillows.
This is not how I want to remember the start of a romance.
Which is just as well. I think in Austen's day, getting a character sick was the only way the author could think of to ensure her male and female characters properly got to know and spend some time with each other.
Not to mention, a lot of these people have nothing better to do than lie around in bed in a dark room all day, drinking tea and having people speak to them softly.
But the modern-day heroine can not possibly manoeuvre sickness into a starting point for a relationship.
The modern woman takes care of herself. She doesn't call anyone over to bring a box of tissues or prepare her chicken soup.
Honestly, there is nothing less romantic than being sick.
Man, am I bored.
source of photo