Still Sick? Good Grief!

I've been sick for nearly three weeks now. While I'm still barking like a stranded seal, I think I'm nearing the end of this thing - throwing up coughing is near the end, right?

Work is so loaded with tasks and projects at the moment, I kept going in to do them rather than take the time off to get better. Of course my coughing has been annoying the crap out of my colleagues but there just didn't seem to me to be a choice about me not coming into work. A few annual leave days I'd arranged over a month ago I used to stay in bed instead of discovering the area of my new home in the Newstead and Castlemaine area as planned and I'm sure that helped my health but ye gods, I'm bored with having low lung capacity and unexpected rounds of coughing attacks.

Margaret's Desert Island Flicks

snaffled photo of Margaret Pomeranz

Despite my stupid cold, on Monday night, I went with my friend Nick to see Margaret Pomeranz's Desert Island Flicks at ACMI.

Margaret is half of a beloved pair of movie fanatics who have been letting Australians know what's good to see at the cinema for the last 25 years. Both Nick and I had been looking forward to this evening at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image and finally it had arrived - as did we - early and first in line to get a front row seat to this intimate event. The venue was one of ACMI's new studios. It held maybe 50-80 of us, so quite the small group.

As the lights wend down, and everyone settled, one of the hosts began to introduce the evening, the interviewer and the guest, I felt my throat catching. I had coughs inside me. After a whole evening of nothing, now they decided to tickle themselves into life. Concentrating, I kept them in. No one could see me spasming and fighting their need to be loud and be free. The introduction seemed to last forever and just as I got to the stage where I could fight them no longer, the audience applauded the beginning of Margaret's talk and I coughed in the noise. But then, as the applause died down, I realised my coughs had no such intention so spluttering and coughing, I burst from my seat and lurched towards the door we'd entered - now covered in a heavy, black curtain.

Pulling back the curtain I pushed against the door* to leave the room, but it didn't budge. So I pulled the door instead but got the same result. Coughing, I shook the handle - pushed and pulled before realising the fucking thing was locked! Suddenly I realised there had to be a release button and sure enough, there it was beside the door. Hitting it with the palm of my hand the door released and I left the studio, glancing up to the audience in the seats above me, their faces watching my spectacle as I dissappeared through the door and outside to let my coughing fly.

As I had left through the door I had turned left and ended up coughing leaning over the railing and into the atrium area below. My coughs echoing agains the modern surfaces at ACMI but I let them go as much as they liked as the place was virtually empty. Drawing in more breath between bouts I turned back the way I came, coughing again, and to my horror saw the door into the studio was still wide open. Fucksticks, they had to be able to hear me! Just as I realised that, one of the ushers from inside the studio poked his head out the door with a sympathetic smile to me and drew the door closed, blocking out my distracting carry-on.

Throwing myself back up the corridor I tried to put as much distance between the studio and my noise and ended up back in the cafe where we'd had a drink earlier. On the counter were several tall stainless containers of water and I poured myself a glassful, downing it hoping it would help me get a grip on this now rampent coughing fit.

It didn't.

No, I'm not okay

My eyes were streaming, my coughing relentless. I held the side of one of the tables as the waiter asked if I was okay. No, I said, no I was not okay.

I grabbed a handful of servettes from the counter and high tailed it to the bathrooms just in time to throw up in the sink.

Could the night *get* any better?

With the turn of bathroom events, my coughs decided to disappear. I didn't trust them to stay away though, so I quietly loitered around the foyer. There was no way I could go back into Margaret's Desert Island Flicks, I decided, and would just need to pace about until it had finished and Nick came out. Eventually though, I found myself back at the door of the studio - still coughless. The door I'd bolted through was again closed, and a sign next to it suggested any late arrivals should use the side door. Following the arrow around the corner, the sympathetic usher let me back into the studio from the side door. I stood for a while in the wings and listened to Margaret talking about one of her movies, Robert Altman's Nashville. The usher nodded for me to return to my seat as the lights went down and an snippet from the movie screened.

I had a few more coughs throughout the rest of the evening but I managed to keep them for when everyone laughed at Margaret's witty (and sometimes slightly risqué) comments. I'm so glad I got to come back and listen to Margaret, she was simply delightful. It was so great to see the way she leaned into the television to watch the segments from each of her movies. Her face lit from the screen, reflecting her adoration of the movies she had chosen. And she's so tiny! but with that famous, fabulous laugh of hers, we all had a really entertaiining evening.

Margaret talking about four of her five films she choose for Desert Island Flicks were videotaped. The fourth movie wasn't filmed - not due to me - but due to time constrants.


*as my sister says, they're more often traps than opportunities.