Sick in the City

It seems like the entire world is down with a nasty cold.

It probably seems that way because I’ve been largely confined to my house for much of the last week and a half. But it’s possible that everyone on earth is sick, too.

First my husband got sick. Sore throat moving into head and chest cold. He was down (and I mean down) for a week. On the couch, chicken soup. Seven days. This, the guy who doesn’t miss work for something trifling like his health unless I take away his keys.

I slept a lot and doubled up on vitamins and drank lots of liquids and washed my hands constantly, but to no avail. Sick I am, and have been off and on since he started on the mend. (As an aside, I note that he and I are rarely sick simultaneously, nor do either of us have a mommy within 3000 miles. I assume this is a base survival instinct or something.)

On the occasions that I have ventured out, for chiropractic visits and soup ingredients, I have seen sick people all over the place. All of my husbands co-workers show up every day whether they felt like crap or not. And I got to thinking – why do people do this? I know in many cases people simply cannot afford to lose wages and so must go to work. But let’s take the office of a successful production company, where everyone is on salary and if someone misses a day it effects the next broad appeal comedy feature (but not really because those things will get made whether anyone shows up or not) but nothing else. And yet people are so convinced that their job is vital that they work through colds and flus and food poisoning, presumably certain that their stoic loyalty makes them better people.

Um, no. It makes you sick longer, it makes your co-workers sick (I’m not pointing any fingers, but someone got my husband sick and he got me sick so I am a little annoyed), and it slows productivity much more than missing a day or two and being recovered and able to do your job when you return.

Just take a sick day!

This is not in any way limited to the film industry (I saw plenty of it in advertising, too – though surprisingly less in the paid-by-the-hour retail and food industries) or Los Angeles (I’ve lived in New York and Chicago among other cities, towns, and wide open spaces). But it never ceases to amaze me how self-important people can be.

3 Replies to “Sick in the City”

  1. It’s hard to take a sick day from my classes especially when the class in question only meets once a week. I think the main reason I haven’t healed is because I haven’t taken the time to get the rest I need. School doesn’t wait for sick days, at least for me.

  2. Annika, I think you didn’t get the memo: the world will stop if an agent, producer, assistant, or anyone else takes a sick day in Los Angeles. If you need to get sick, you need to schedule it for a weekend you have off, or a vacation well in advance. And even then, you must have access to a computer, Blackberry, and cel phone (with headset).

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