Giving In, Not To Be Confused With Giving Up

It was only a matter of time.

This is what I’m thinking to myself as I stare blankly at the dozens of different types of chocolate laid out in front of me in the grocery store. It was only a matter of time before I gave in. I always do.

I have quite a sweet tooth, as anyone who’s seen me prepare a cup of coffee or tea for myself knows all too well. I’ve frequently been accosted by chocolate cravings so severe I can hardly think straight, though they often occur when I can’t think straight for a variety of other reasons, so I’m not sure the cravings are wholly to blame.

But it’s not a coincidence that chocolate cravings tend to strike when I’m already at my weakest. Today, was I ever at my weakest.

I work at a kindergarten. I’m surrounded by children all the time. The kids themselves are bothering me far less than I expected, and as cliched as it may sound, helping me re-engage all the most awesome parts of a childlike mentality. While still allowing me to enjoy an adult beverage or two. Wicked.

What I was not expecting (but really should have, because when I think about it logically, it’s by no means a surprise) was to be sick for a great proportion of at least four of the seven weeks I’ve been here. I spend every working day, over half of my waking hours five days a week, surrounded by children.

Children are absolutely disgusting.

Yes, they’re precious and adorable. Yes, they smile and it warms the cackles of my heartless. Yes, some of them are whip-smart, and their level of fluency in a second language astounds me daily. All this is true. But they’re gross.

They don’t all know how to blow their noses unassisted. They like to use any adult in the room as part towel, part jungle gym. They don’t wash their hands after using the washroom unless I specifically tell them to. They constantly exude various fluids from their mouths, noses, and eyes, and can’t be relied upon to realize they really ought to wipe them up.

I may sound like a germophobe. This is a label I have never felt applied to me. I firmly believe that kids should eat dirt and bugs, and that doing so will boost their immune systems. After all, that’s how I got my relatively strong immune system, by making mud pies and then eating them.

Even so, everybody’s got their limits, and there is only so much mucous a girl can handle. Particularly when it’s not her own mucous.

So, coming back from that little side trip down the TMI Parkway, the long and short of it is that I’m sick. I have been sick for what feels like a month, and I am not happy about it. My mud pie fed immune system is supposed to be on top of this, dangit!

I don’t get sick all that often in my usual life. But my contact with forty-pound germ machines is somewhat more limited in my usual life. I’m no stranger to the ickle blortch: that coughing stuffed up sniffle that often accompanies the change of temperatures or the beginning of exam season. This passed eleven on the blortch-o-meter about two weeks ago.

Today, I broke down and went to see the doctor, a slew of over-the-counter and herbal remedies having had little effect over the last two weeks while my nose got stuffier and stuffier and my voice got quieter and quieter until today by last period I could hardly talk at all.

I draw the line at miming “vocabulary review”. Something had to give.

After having my face poked and prodded, and various instruments poked around my mouth, nose, and ears by a man whose English was better than my Korean, but only marginally, I emerged, victorious, with a three-day round of goodness-knows-what that is supposed to cure what ails me.

Having been advised to drink lots of liquids and lots of hot drinks, I set off for the grocery store. My shopping list consisted of aloe juice and some new and exciting tea with which to motivate myself to put the kettle on.

I’d like to point out that I am entirely capable of taking care of myself when I’m sick. However, when I feel like crap, my healthy-eating conscience gets real quiet all of a sudden. Like little Miss Jiminy is in there saying “You know I’m not supposed to do this, but just this once, I’m gonna look the other way”.

Which is how I wound up in the chocolate aisle, staring blankly at dozens of brands and flavours, paralyzed by the sheer quantity of options.

It was only a matter of time before I wound up in the chocolate aisle, regardless of the fact that I spent the last seven weeks never setting a single foot down it. But it was right there, next to the tea and coffee aisle. I was sunk as soon as a British mind-voice whispered: “You know what’s lovely with tea? Biscuits. Choc chip biscuits.”

Game over, as far as total avoidance goes. That’s okay. All things in moderation. Especially moderation, where chocolate is concerned.

Surrender has never been this delicious.


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