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I’m not one to get offended easily. I grew up in a big, semi-obnoxious family and was often the brunt of endless jokes about my singleness, my weight and my (childhood) (uncontrollable) propensity for nose picking. I’d like to think it has only made me stronger, but I’m sure I’ll pay for it all one day in therapy bills. For now, I’m living happily under the delusion that I’m tough enough.

Until yesterday, that is.

In order to avoid my mugshot landing under the headline “Employee Fired Over Workplace Rant on Blog,” I’ll keep the work-related details in this story to a minimum. (Disclaimer: I love my job! It’s the best! Love my co-workers! Go work!)

As you know from my last post, I’m getting over a terrible cough and cold, with a nasty ear infection thrown in for good measure. Lovely! It hasn’t been pretty, but as of yesterday, I was rocking my fifth day of antibiotics and was definitely feeling better. I’m back in the office and working hard, and am almost back to my normal self, apart from an annoying, sporadic cough and a few nose-blowing instances here and there. All this is to be expected, correct?

For story context, you should know that on this particular day, I was sitting in an open area of cubicles, surrounded by a few co-workers on my project, but also many people I don’t know and don’t work with. (Large building, lots of departments, you catch my drift.) Think Office Space meets The Office, because really, this story belongs smack dab in the center of that movie and that sitcom. You’ll know why soon enough.

Well there I was, minding my own business, working hard, typing away on my laptop. All of a sudden, a lady I don’t know starts walking around my cubicle spraying Lysol disinfectant into the air.

[Jim Halpert makes signature puzzled face directly at Camera 2.]

I look up, in shock, and say, “Is that because I’m sick?”

And she says, “Sorry guuurrl. I got kids.” And continues to spray the area down like I’m being quarantined into cubicle 504-A because of a communicable disease.

[Jim Halpert, puzzled face, Camera 3.]

I can hear my co-workers laughing hysterically in the cubicles next to me. In a moment of desperation, I tried in vain to make it better.

In the nicest voice I can muster: “It’s okay. I’m on the fifth day of antibiotics.”

Then — and I can’t believe this actually happened — I hear another lady I don’t know in far-off cubicle say, “WHY are you HERE?”


At this point, I’m choking on Lysol disinfectant and can barely breathe, let alone think of a comeback. I’m frantically trying to find my notebook to write this all down because it’s comedic gold and will definitely make me Seinfeld-esque millions one day. And all the while I’m slightly — nay very — offended!

I understand that no one wants to catch a cold. Get it.

I understand it’s not the nicest thing to hear someone coughing all day while you’re at work. Understood.

In my defense, I’m on the mend! I took off work over the holidays when I was really sick, because that’s the considerate thing to do (and also because I literally couldn’t get out of bed). This is now me getting better! I’m not contagious, and I will do anything in my power to not use vacation days when I’m not, in fact, on vacation.

Furthermore, I am highly offended at your reasoning for dousing me with antibacterial spray: “Sorry guuurrl. I got kids.”Β So you’re saying that if you didn’t have kids, it’d be okay to catch someone’s cold? (Not that you can catch my cold!)

Listen up, everybody! Kidless people, both single and married, are people, too! We have feelings! We are valuable! We know what love is! We don’t live unfulfilled lives just because we haven’t yet multiplied!

disinfectant-spray-lysolOkay, okay. Calm down, Ruth. Deep breath. I think the Lysol is getting to you.

I don’t know the point of this blog post, other than I need to vent (quite literally). I do sometimes feel like parents feel they’re superior to non-parents, when the only difference is that they chose to get knocked up and I didn’t. Don’t make me feel bad because I don’t have a baby and because I have an ever-so-slight residual cough (after I dragged myself to the doctor’s office by myself and went to the pharmacy by myself and have a job by myself and pay the bills by myself and do everything by myself).

Your kids (who, based on your lengthy personal phone conversations, are grown adults) are going to be okay. Put the Lysol down.

Parents and non-parents, let’s unite! We’re all in this together. And really, since you’re a parent, you should know that all I really need right now is a hug. (Cough, cough.)