oh god kill me now

Apparently, I'm not just sick, I'm really horrendously sick.

Our landlords were here when I stumbled out the other day. They're a middle-aged couple who immigrated to the US umpty-zillion years ago; he's a sort of quiet, genial handyman who's shown up a couple of times primarily to fix lights and small appliances, and she's very mother-henny and mildly crazy in that way that seems to be peculiar to older Chinese ladies. All I got from Mr. Fangzhu was a question about seeing a doctor, but Mrs. Fangzhu kept staring at me, extra hard when I said I was going out return something to the library. I assume I looked like I might expire at any moment, because David offered to do it for me. If you've ever gotten a good look at downtown Boston, you know that "someone might die if I don't" is pretty much the only rational reason to try taking a car down to the Back Bay.

I find it difficult to tell exactly how sick I am, a lot of the time. I feel so lousy so early on the process that how much I hope I'm going to die doesn't really scale well to the chances that I actually might. One of the best indicators that I should just curl up and go into a coma is that I start hearing distant music. I'm really badly pareidolic to begin with, finding pseudo-whispering in rushing water and the suggestion of geometric mazes in linoleum tile. They're not hallucinations; they're more like optical illusions, except they affect more than one sense. The classic example is seeing pictures in the randomness of clouds.

Most of the time I either ignore it or use it to entertain myself, but whenever I run a significant fever, it goes kind of haywire -- what happens, I think, is that the sampling rate on my vision and audition goes way, way down, and that makes the interpolation that human brains are always doing come up with some squiffy results. The sharp jags that make things like fan noises sound mechanical get lost in quantization, and the smoothed waveform sounds like a barely-audible chorale, holding a slowly-shifting chord with a lot of reverb thrown in.

The effect is not unlike the backing used by a lot of Celtic New Age artists. (My parents have a thing for Enya; "China Roses" comes to mind.) This is why, despite being a fan of more electronic ambient musicians like Brian Eno, I don't have a lot of Music To Worship The Planet By hanging around in the collection. It reminds me of being semi-conscious and wondering whether I'm going to die of the flu right there on the sofa, and would that really be such a bad thing.

Other fun effects include watching random dots crawl on surfaces like rugs and walls -- everything in Arizona, for reasons that I hope will forever elude me, had this cheap orange peel finish on the walls, and I'm pretty sure every school and dentist's office in the civilized world has that short-napped heathered industrial carpeting on the floor. The irregular curves give the impression that any piece of it I'm not looking straight at is slowly wobbling in my peripheral vision. There's also the fun part where I wake myself up with hypnic jerks and can't initially sort out whether I twitched or the bed did.

Just for shits and giggles, I also woke up today with a blinding headache. Semi-literally -- I had apparently been lying on my left side the whole night, and the pressure of all the gunk inside my head piling up on that side was making that eye water. Gravity fixed it after a few minutes of sitting up, but goddamn those were a long few minutes.