• J. S. Chlapowski

Days worse than Friday

I met some friends and Snorre at a bar after work on Friday at a table with a bench, a few chairs, and some seats against the wall. One got up when I arrived. He offered me his seat along the wall. His back was bad, he said, but mine was worse, which isn’t quite true because it doesn’t quite work that way.

But some days it does work exactly that way. On both kinds of days, good and not-so-good, I hate talking about it. I don’t like it when people remember that I might have it hard sometimes.

HuffPo says there’s a celebrity with the same condition as me. Dan Reynolds, part of Imagine Dragons and now forever in my head as fellow anklyosing spondylitis…I don’t know, sufferer? Is he suffering? Am I?

I didn’t read the whole article but gave it a quick glance. I started tuning out the second I read that he needed to take time off to recover. I didn’t want to know the rest.

I didn't want to know what his threshold was for too much because I don’t want to look for my own threshold. I don’t want to be less able, because people remember that, right? The nice ones are accommodating, but it’s still an acknowledgement that I'm weaker than they are.

Most of my days are good days. I can walk without a limp, usually, and I’m pretty sure my back is more bendy now than a year ago. I haven’t had an MRI in probably ten years or more, but I haven’t really felt the need to get one.

I don’t want to read that maybe I should be more diligent, that I’m ignoring a slow boil that’s going to tip over if I don’t keep my eye on it, because, here’s the thing: watching a pot is fucking exhausting.

There are days when the water gets a little too hot, when the steam rises and pushes against the pot lid enough to make it jiggle and shake, and on those days I really do need to sit down and take it easy. There’s not always a seat available, and usually I’m not offered one. I don’t really look like the kind of person who might need a little more support now and then.

But then I have friends who offer a seat even when I don't need it, and on those days, I take it, as I'll need the seat to still be there on days worse than Friday.

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