Saturday, August 8, 2009M. is congested. Her voice is scratchy and every few minutes she coughs. "Don't mind me," she says, "I have a small case of the Swine Flu." She sniffles.
I offer her some Cepacol throat lozenges, which she takes and quickly pops one into her mouth. Within seconds, her eyes get all wide and she smacks her lips.
M: "What is that?"
Me: "It numbs your mouth and throat."
M: "My tongue!" (Smacks her lips a few times.) "I don't like it."
M. decides the Cepacol tastes like a banana. "It's cherry flavored," I tell her, but she is not convinced.
M. hates bananas. Sometimes I'll eat one for breakfast and M. reacts as if I'm handling a dead skunk. She plugs her nose and scrunches into a ball, waving one hand in front of her face to escape the smell.
"Bananas are healthy," I protest, but it's no use. M. seizes a tiny perfume bottle from her bag and sprays it all over the room. One whiff of that stuff makes everybody's eyes burn and soon the whole team is coughing and gasping for air.
"What makes you hate bananas so much?" I ask.
M: "Jake, they smell terrible!"
Me: "Is this why you're jealous of Carmen Miranda? Because she wears bananas on her head?"
M: "Carmen Miranda is a man. And she's dead!"
Me: "Look, I'm done eating the banana. I've thrown the peel away so you can relax now."
M: "The peel is what stinks! Throw it away in another room."
Me: "What?! No way."
The Cepacol eases M.'s coughing for the time being, and the morning banana is soon forgotten. M. is a master at changing the subject when a conversation starts to spoil, so after a few minutes of arguing over monkey fruit she spins the discussion into a humor-filled rant about S.T.D. flare up.
The day winds down into a blur of JEALOUSY magazine references, twitchy singing, and M. asking me if I'm OK in between coughs.
Another Thursday in the books.