Today is normally Crush Your Cat’s Head Friday but Yoshi and I are going to have to take a rain-cheque. My poor baby hurled all over the TV today and is feeling rather delicate. When one’s cat makes some exorcist dance moves like projectile vomiting one does not want to employ any kind of squeezing actions to her body. It is a personal safety thing.
Instead I am going to write about life lessons. Specifically relating to cancer and having it in one’s body. Even more specifically how this changes your worldly outlook. It, in fact, begins to make you a bit of a shit disturber.
As life toddles along and things happen in day-to-day living it is really easy to get caught up in little things. Petty things. I have been very guilty of this in the past. Being upset with my neighbours over noise or frustrated over bad drivers or angry at fictional characters on TV. We have all been there. Well, after undergoing all sorts of gory medical procedures and hearing all sorts of bad health news most of these things just don’t affect me like they used to. They are minor disturbances in ‘The Grand Scheme of Life.’ I admit on days when I am feeling good and the cancer is far in the back of my mind I forget my lessons and you can hear my muffled cursing floating from my car as I swerve dangerously close to cyclists. But on days when I am feeling tired and sick and shaky such happenings really don’t matter very much and you will find me all wise and metaphysical about things. Pretty much a smug oracle of eternal knowledge.
A couple weeks ago I went to a department store to pick up a couple items I desperately needed. I really didn’t feel much like shopping and was just planning on popping in and out of the store as fast as I could. I was waiting in line at the cashier’s desk behind this woman who was quite angry about something. At first I was not really paying attention as I was just trying to stay upright but as time went by and I continued to wait I started listening in on the discussion going on in front of me. What had happened was the lady had bought something using a gift card. The total was less than the gift card amount and there was money remaining on the card. Well, she insisted on getting that money back in cash. The sales lady explained that is was store policy that they could not refund the remaining amount on a gift card in cash. It was not an option on the cash register. They simply couldn’t do it. The woman said she understood but that she might not come back to the store for another year or so and just wanted the money back in cash. The sales clerk assured her that the amount left on the gift card would never expire and she could put it towards any future purchases but the store policy was that they couldn’t refund the money in cash. The woman was yelling pretty loudly at this point and kept on saying that while she understood the store policy she just didn’t understand why SHE couldn’t get the cash back. Basically that store policy be damned and that it didn’t apply to her. The salesclerk offered to bring the manager over but reiterated that they couldn’t alter the store policy. The woman was freaking at this point REALLY yelling that she wanted her cash RIGHT NOW! You want to know what the amount she was spazzing out over? $1.36. Yes, all this fuss over $1.36.
I am usually fairly shmellow and do not interfere in other peoples business but it was ALL I COULD DO not to say what was running though my mind. It was ALL I COULD DO to reign in my inner indignant old lady lacking all verbal restraint and eschewing social niceties. I desperately wanted to tap her gently on the shoulder and say, “Excuse me, ma’am. Here’s the thing. I have been standing behind you for about 10 minutes listening to your problem. Now MY problem is that I am a 36 years old who has just undergone 5 months of chemotherapy for breast cancer. Soon I will undergo radiation treatment at which time incredibly strong x-rays will nuke my body. A procedure so life altering it has been known to create super heroes from mere mortals. Immediately after that I will have both my breasts removed with sharp knives by a man with the word ‘plastic’ in his job title. I can assure you that none of this is pleasant in any way. While I would much rather be at home laying down and resting I am finding myself waiting in line behind you while you argue over $1.36. So please accept $2 for your fucking gift card and let’s end this INSANITY so I can get the fuck home where I belong.” But I didn’t say anything at all. I walked away to find another cashier’s desk to buy my stuff. At the time I was just too tired and didn’t want to cause a commotion.
Now that I am feeling much better and stronger I wish I had said something. I doubt in her anger the woman would have seen the absurdity of her request. She probably would have punched me in the head. My soon to be strong super hero head. But it would have been sooooo worth it.