I tend to see the world in very broad strokes. Like the pages of ancient Chinese calligraphy scrolls-where words have multiple meanings, where there are stories hidden within each diagonal slant of a line, and where each piece of the textual puzzle comes together to bring about one simple character's ultimate, complex meaning. This is how I see life. I see conflict, hardship, joy, love, Saturday morning cartoons, and even a destiny-altering disease as pertinent portions of a perfect picture. All things are connected. And all things have deeper meaning. And even random discordant anomalies have purpose. So surely there's a reason for this cough.
For the past few months I have had a cough. Nothing of life-altering danger: no blood, no body-spasming convulsions that point to fluid in the lungs, no death bed sagas or poignant personal operas that closely reference La Boh'me. This is just a cough: a constant annoyance with an underlying promise that there's something brewing below the surface that needs to be discovered, explored, and resolved. Some would say "nothing to worry about." But I have HIV, and I can't afford to just let things go. So this has been my dilemma. This has been the puzzle that my doctor and I have been working on. This has been my most recent contemplation. But with all our tests, blood work, and extra medications, we just can't seem to find the source. Now, based on the Occam's razor principle of logic, it's probably just a cold or maybe some allergies that I didn't know I had or perhaps simply after eight months of successful hepatitis C treatment (hurray for me!), the dreaded flu-like systems associated with this treatment have finally physically manifested and I should be lucky it's just a cough.
But that seems like such a limited awareness of the world and such a ridiculously lazy function of consciousness. Like I said: I see the world in a spectrum of far more magical complexity. To every truth, there must be levels of interconnected depth, where the duality of concepts can coexist in the same space of understanding. There must be more to it. Sure, medication works, logic is powerful, HIV and hepatitis C have unforeseen side effects, and sometimes a picture of a rose is just a picture of a rose. But sometimes it's not. And this is when most people start to call me crazy.
Gary Zukav, Eckhart Tolle, Oprah, and Jesus (obviously the last two are interchangeable) say that all physical ailments are a manifestation of spiritual, emotional, or psychological dynamics at work in our lives-like rain being a result of a high or low pressure front over the Atlantic Ocean. Not good, not bad, just a pattern. Have I lost you?
Basically, I believe my cough is a representation of some internal truth that the universe is trying to make known. And lately that truth is that no one ever knows what I'm talking about! No one wants to have conversations about the ethereal ideas that interest me. No one will sit over coffee and discuss with me ancient Chinese calligraphy, the contemporary theatrical relevance of La Boh'me, Occam's linear leaps of logic, or the philosophical possibilities of a physical component to the metaphysical. So because of that lack of personal expression...I have a cough.
Yup! That's what I think it is.
Well, that or the whole hepatitis C thing.
Saucier is a writer, blogger, and performance artist based in Los Angeles. Find more of his writing online via our website.