Life in the Slow Lane

Life in the Slow Lane

Friday, October 21, 2005

How Cancer And Public Disturbances Mix

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.


Susie said...

Applause. For your perspective, for what you did, and what you didn't, and what you wish you had. You're a wonderful super-hero in training.

JessicaRabbit said...

Honestly, after dealing with drunks who like to fight over every little thing, I wouldnt of been able to be quiet like you were. I most likely would of been rude.

I am a very very bad girl.

You are very very good.

That makes me want to make you bad. :)

Closet Metro said...

I can't follow Jessica's comment with anything that isn't very, very naughty.

spoonleg said...

I would have punched that bitch right in her tit. And I don't even have cancer to claim as an excuse. Some people are so fricking ignorant.

eclectic said...

Maybe Jessica IS very, very bad... but she's so very, very good in her heart, and in that way she's a lot like you, Kranki. Tired or not, it was very admirable of you to seek out another cash register rather than verbally punch her out. Kudos to you for rational behavior in the face of irrational misbehavior. I want to deck her.

Dima said...

In a bad way people like that make you feel that much better about yourself, you know the fact that you're not a petty stupid bitch like her.

How pathetic is that woman? And you, YOU, are amazing!

mrtl said...

Oh my. Just reading about this fatigues me. Strength in restraint, Kranki. You done good.

whfropera said...

yeah, I don't know if I could have exercised that much restraint. You are to be admired for taking the high road, but I bet deep down you're hoping you see her kicking up a fuss on a day when you are feeling "less restrained".
and for the record, I have done EXACTLY that - given someone $2 in line at the register JUST SO I CAN GET ON WITH MY LIFE, thank you very much. - LOL

Magical_M said...

ooooohhh i wish you had said what you were thinking.

it was so eloquent.

but well done for restraining yourself. she sounds cracked and could well have turned violent.

happyandblue2 said...

You did good. I would have given her the $2 and told her to take a hike.
But your action was much wiser.
Hope you have a nice weekend and that your cat is feeling better..

Locket said...

Hello Von Kankipantzen. I'm Locket. I always feel the need to introduce myself when I visit a new blog... otherwise it would be like be rocking up to your house and walking right in without ringing the doorbell. So hello. Now for my comment:

You are so wise.

I read your post and on your behalf desperately wanted to hunt that bitch down and smack her upside the head. There was pure anger coursing through my veins while I imagined getting wench-woman in a headlock and forcing her to apologise to you for keeping you off your couch a moment longer than necessary.

But then I stopped and realised I was completely missing the point. Allowing the woman... the story to upset me is still sweating the small stuff, and just as pointless as her (inexcusable) behaviour. You sound like the kind of woman who, had you been feeling stronger that day, would still have been the bigger person and walked away.

I'm looking forward to reading your back-posts. Think I could learn a thing or two from you.


Squirl said...

Your restraint was wonderful. However, you probably would've made that cashier's day. In fact, had I been in line behind you and you'd said that, I would've applauded you. Sometimes people have to be reminded how stupidly incourteous they are.

Erin Mc said...

You have a better handle on restraint than I do... I would have definitely taken the opportunity to make her feel stupid. I would have given her an extra dollar, to make her feel worse of course.

snaps79 said...

You SO should have said it. Don't you hate that? You know, when you have a good comeback MERE SECONDS after leaving a situation where you really needed to say something mean and witty at the same time?? Grrrr....

kalki said...

First, I admire your Grand Scheme of Life perspective. Sometimes I have that, but not as much as I should. And I also would have said nothing, but I would have been SEETHING and thinking of all the things I could say. Sometimes I wish I would empower my inner bitch. Other times I'm glad I don't.

SassyFemme said...

You definitely put things into perspective. Next time, go ahead and say it. :)

jar said...

Hope that your cat is better.

LadyBug said...

Bravo to you for your restraint.

And I hope Yoshi hasn't had any more exorcist episodes.


Kassi said...

I wish you had said it too, but I admire your tact and restraint.

kim said...

Just last week I was across the counter from just such a customer. The cash register will just not cashout a gift certificate for cash, simple as that....It's so that the store can make more money...of course, but there is nothing a minimum wage cashier can do about it. Her CG had $2.02 on it, and it was all I could do not to take that out of my own pocket and say, "Here, take it and leave please." Recently when I am in line and there is one of these ppl ahead of me, and they turn to me to say, 'can you believe this service' I usually let them have it. if you had of said what was on your mind you probably would have left the woman dumbstruck and the cashier enternally greatful.
You've also reminder me how important it is to treat each customer individually, if you had of stayed in line, the cashier having just dealt with that lady might not have been in the best of moods and that could resonate to other customers who don't deserve it.

ScottyGee said...

Yeah, good job Krank. I would have gooten my scary "I am about to turn your eyeballs into a martini garnish with these here toothpicks I keep in my pocket for just such occassions" look. People don't like that look at all. Sometimes I say things, but it's not because I am upset. It's because people all need to learn how to chill. A lot of people walk around with this self-important attitude and those are the ones who aren't really important at all.

Me love you long time, Krank.

circe said...

I AM SO WITH YOU ON THAT POINT!!!! What is truly important changes so drastically. (you go, girl!)


Nessa said...

I blove you. That is all.

east village idiot said...

I really want to respond to this post but I keep having flash backs of the iguana in the shoe store....and just relieved that incident is all over.

That fight over a $1.23 never could have happened in NYC. The customer would have been flogged by everyone else on line.

Amanda B. said...

I just love you Kranki. :D

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

I've seen you on blogs we share in common...and I've always liked your posts, so I thought I'd drop by and visit. Love that you love cats, me too.

I didn't know that you are dealing with breast cancer. I hope that you are doing well.


Divine Calm said...

When my mom was first diagnosed with Parkinson's, I would become enraged at people's lack of civility. Any more I just sigh and pity the offending person. Obviously, they don't get it and are wrecking their own existence. Afterall, life is shitty enough without you doing anything to add more negativity to it.

Cheers and I'm glad you bit your lip. Otherwise you might be in jail, and your readers would miss your updates.

Michele in Michigan said...

Such self-restraint!!! I can assure you that your friends here will all do what we can to help you loosen up a bit ;) LOL

I, too, have wanted to play my cancer card with f'idiots like that hehehehe

Don't worry. You will soon gain the true Tourette Syndrome of a survivor hehehehehe :)

oooooo--my word verification sounds like a mumbled cussword!


Misfit Hausfrau said...

You should an admirable amount of self restraint. In my life, it is so rare that I come up with a zinger at the right moment. The older I get, the more apt I am to saying it as it could be a year before I come up with another good one. It would have been great to see that shrew's face!

Von Krankipantzen said...

Susie-you are so sweet. I am not sure if I did the right thing but it was what made sense at the time.

jessica r-I would never have been polite to nasty drunks. It would be wasted. I do wish I was a little bit badder..

closet m-It was even harder to keep my response clean.

spoonleggie-I can just see you punching her in the tit. This vision makes me laugh.

eclectic- I am not really that kind. My mind was willing to say something but my body wasn't. Saved by the body.

dima-you are too kind! And you are right! I would never behave that way EVER! And you wouldn't either. It just ain't sane.

mrtl-maybe the story was just too long. However, she did make me very tired as well. Either/or, I guess.

whfropera-$2 seemed so little for for peace and quiet. If it had happened this week I sooo would have said something.

magical m-I wondered about that. She was acting so freaky who knows what she might have done.

happy adn blue2-Yoshi is much better thanks. She got totally well after I gave HER $2.

locket-so nice to meet you. Thanks for coming by. I totally agree with you. I thought that when I was writing the post. I can't berate her for being petty if I am getting all riled up as well over her stuff. I would be just as bad.

squirl-I used to be a cashier and a couple times a brave customer has come to my defense with a nasty customer. They got applause too.

erinsccalla-kill her with kindness. Now that has style.

HDL-I have to admit I probably wouldn't have been so composed saying what I had to say at the time it was happening. Only later could I articulate it as I did. Rarely do I ever come up with something witty to say right in the moment.

kalki-It is hard to know when the inner bitch will be as effective and appreciated as you would like her to be.

sassyfemme-You know what? I just might.

jar-the cat is much better, thanks.

ladybug-thanks for the hugs. No more hurling from the cat so far.

kassi-I was just too pooped. Not much restraint was needed.

kim-I was a casshier for years and it was really hard to be sweet after being abused by a customer. It is a very hard job.

scottyg-promises, promises...;-) Please don't skewer your eyeballs. Not in front of me, anyway. Eew!

circe-I know you know!

sillyn-oh, silly. I blove you too.

easty- No kidding, huh? In some places nobody would live past a attitude like that.

amandab-thanks Amanda. Lovin' ya right back.

dr. deb-yes, unfortunately that is so. The cat lovin' is keeping me well. Thanks for stopping by.

divine calm-they could learn from your name. I can't imagine what that woman's home life is like.

michele-are you saying soon I won't be able to contain those thoughts? Excellent.

misfit hf-so true. Yell it if you've got it!

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