Throwing It All Away

March 23, 2010 at 4:52 PM (Karma, WTF) (, , , , , , )

Call me crazy, but having come this far, I’m not really eager to just bite it in some offhand way. Thus it makes me really hot under the collar to see other citizens making stupid decisions, especially if those decisions include me.

Yesterday on the way home from (surprise!) Trader Joe’s, Avery and I were merrily chatting and generally enjoying each other’s company on the local Major Shopping Route. Our usual way home, down an off-ramp and through a traffic light towards our side of town, looked crowded (I’m a little touchy about sitting at a light if I don’t have to), so I chose the alternate route under the intersection and on to the next side street. As I continued down the right lane of the four-lane, divided highway past the beginning of the exit ramp, at a reasonable speed, a young lady in a small sedan PASSED me on the left, then BRAKED, merged in FRONT of me and off the right onto the exit ramp, BRAKING to get behind the car (exiting) that had been less than a half-car-length in front of me. By standing my car on its front bumper, I was able to skillfully avoid pasting her with my Viniman.

It probably goes without saying that I used my horn. Continuously. Until I looked over at her incredulous expression (“WhAAAAAt?”) and the TEXTING DEVICE clutched in her left hand as she drove up the ramp.

I’m probably not the most understanding person in this situation, being one who uses my cell phone for making calls, and then only eight or ten times a week at most. I don’t text and don’t really understand the reason for texting (which may explain why it’s so hard to get babysitters to get back to me), and I CERTAINLY don’t understand why it’s so important to finish a text while operating a one-ton lethal weapon at highway speeds.

I can’t decide if this is the cancer talking (maybe), or if I’m just getting old (probably). But it annoys me a lot (more than it should, no doubt) to be fighting tooth and nail to survive another six months, a year, a decade, and see people with their whole lives ahead of them making stupid decisions that could end it all in a blink. Texting while driving. Smoking. Buying shopping carts full of lousy food. I want to approach the young man cowering in front of the rain-soaked office building cupping his Camel and whisper, “Psssst…Cancer sucks,” in his ear. I want them to understand that it’s not always going to be this easy to assume you’ll live forever.

And while we’re on pipe dreams, I’d really like an iPhone.

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Making A Silk Purse Out Of A Swine’s Ear

January 8, 2010 at 5:19 PM (Energy, Family, Recovery, Treatment) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

We had the perfect family vacation week planned. After returning from the weekend in Philadelphia over Christmas, Mr. Wonderful was going to take the week off. We were planning a big New Year’s Day Open House party, something I’d been wanting to do for years (see my overcommittment issues posted earlier); I would have time to get to the gym every day, do some long-overdue organizing projects; ship hand-me-downs to the cousins in Cali; learn how to play Wii with the kids.

Well, we all know what happens to the best-laid plans of mice and men. And cancer chicks. Wednesday morning as the whole family was packing up for a day of snowboarding on the local hill, I realized I was feeling sort of achy, a little coughy in the back of the throat. First time I was going to be on skis since the ’80s, I was reluctant to back out – I’m a little sensitive about the three boys doing things together without me, as it feels like foreshadowing, and I’m not ready to relinquish control yet. But common sense (fortunately) got the better of me, and I decided to stay home, clean up, get the house ready for the influx of guests, etc. etc.

And a damn good thing, too – by 10:30 I was shivering on the couch in all-wool clothing and a throw blanket. By 11:30 I was in bed and on the phone with the Cancer Factory. Fever: 102 and change. Body: achy. Head: throbbing. Z-pack prescribed, I passed out, after receiving strict orders to escalate to inpatient IV antibiotics should I get any worse.

What the $(%&… I had JUST remembered to ask for the flu shot two weeks earlier at my last infusion appointment. “Do I need the H1N1?” I asked. “No, I don’t think it’s necessary,” replied the nurse. “Just seasonal flu.” Arm stuck, fears quieted. Now why am I lying in bed? Clearly, the swine had struck.

Four days later, I crawled to the surface. I had watched every cheesy Best-of-the-Decade TV show, learned how to cook countless holiday dishes, and finished an entire previous season of Biggest Loser. And while I was laid up, I kept having flashbacks of being sick, and remembering how much I HATE it. Not that lying in bed with my cat watching TV and napping isn’t nice, but the world keeps on turning without me. Mario Kart marathons were won. Photographs were taken. Meals were eaten, funny stories told. Like the kid who’s not in on the joke, I was reminded that there is, and will continue to be, life without me. Am I sad? Am I happy? The jury’s still out.

Short story long: the party’s postponed until tomorrow, when I’ll happily surround myself with the manic cacophony that is life in the ‘burbs when all your friends have kids under ten. And I have a renewed respect for the shopping-cart wipe-down station outside my Trader Joe’s.

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My Kilt Encounter – An Update

January 4, 2010 at 1:39 PM (Hair, Karma) (, , , , , , , , )

I was checking my stats and noticed that several hits from the past few days have come from “xmarksthescot.com”. An unfamiliar URL. I traveled there to discover that it’s a community of kilt-wearing scotsmen. I guessed they were amused by the tale of my Trader Joe’s encounter of last month, and discovered that someone had put a link to my story in a comment thread. When I navigated back to the original comment, look what I found!

http://www.xmarksthescot.com/forum/good_feeling-t55992/index.html

The universe works in mysterious ways.

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Cold Food, Hot Dude

December 11, 2009 at 9:24 PM (Hair, Recovery) (, , , , , , , )

Trader Joe’s was pretty crowded for 7:00 on a Friday night (I know, I’m a real social butterfly), and I pulled my hat off when I walked in the door. (The fur-lined aviator hat is warm, but a little goofy.) Since my hair has gotten longer, it’s really itchy to wear my wig, so although it looks awesome, I’ve started going out without it. My hair is reeeeeeeally short, and it’s still pretty obvious that I’m growing it back from nothing; at Target today it got a lot of curious looks. I was a little self-conscious about it, but what the heck. My head is cute, my makeup is good, I’m rocking it. So people were doing double-takes tonight as they caught sight of my close crop. (I’m learning to live with the attention.)

Down at the end of the fresh foods aisle, a solidly-built gentleman was looking at cheese. Salt-and-pepper hair, Henry Rollins build, basket of groceries, and a kilt. With a sporran. And knee socks with the little ribbons. Big black brogues, a vest, and a bow tie. Awesome. He had a furrowed brow, as if he couldn’t remember what he was there to buy, or couldn’t find the right aisle for it. He looked very serious, and although I tried to catch his eye to smile, he was focused on his task.

I finished my shopping, checked out, and as I was pushing my cart out of the store, I noticed him walking across the front toward the register I had just left. I decided to take a chance that he had a sense of humor under that fierce demeanor, and as I rolled past him, I leaned over and said, “I’m glad you’re here – I thought I was going to be the one who got the most stares tonight.”

His face lit up and brightened from the center outward, revealing a radiant smile and twinkling blue eyes. He laughed as I rolled out to the parking lot.

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