Petty and mean-spirited. It’s what I am today.
People with cancer are supposed to be grateful and mindful and I am most of the time in my meditative-elevative state, but not today. I’m physically uncomfortable, missing home, itching from a drug rash, in pain from (pardon my indelicacy) a urinary tract infection and just sick to death of humanity. So if you don’t want to listen to me complain, go watch a kitten video or something. It might be a while.
As I do 5 days a week I went to radiation treatment this morning. Aside from the goobers who want you to hear all their phone conversations, you meet the best people in the waiting room at Radiation, I think. They’re quiet, pensive, reflective. My people.
When I arrived this morning there were only two other people there, one I see frequently. We gave each other the ‘sup and waved. The other one I haven’t seen before, a lovely-older-than-me woman who was either waiting on someone or new enough to radiation treatment that she was unscathed by fatigue or rashes or general grumpiness. In other words, her hair was combed. Hell, she had hair, too. (Serious note: Radiation does not make you lose your hair unless it’s your head that’s being treated.)
They called the lady I see all the time (who has no hair but a well-shaped head – makes all the difference) into treatment. See ya. See ya.
Lady with the combed hair and I sat in silence for a while.
Then in swoops Jim the Volunteer. Well-meaning and no-doubt beloved by his family, he switches on the lamps in the waiting area (for a homier effect I guess), then reaches up and turns on the television on the wall.
I’m thinking old white guy. Fox. Shurnuff. Why is it that people who watch Fox “News” assume everyone else there wants to watch it as well? Couldn’t turn around and ask “is this okay with y’all?”
Having faithfully fulfilled his assigned volunteer duties, Jim plops down in a chair across from me and asks me where I’m from. I know this guy. He’s the man. He’s the privileged white guy who complains about losing his freedoms, women, gays, black people, illegal aliens, Obama, and it’s only a matter of time before he bores a hole in the conversation and works all that in.
He’ll eventually get around to his battle with cancer (volunteers are required to be survivors or caregivers) and how God cured him.
Having cancer changes you. I think for the better. But I guess some people it doesn’t. No more self-aware than he was before he got cancer, he’ll start the conversation asking about you, but turn it around to him and his very special and fascinatin’ life. Jim did not disappoint.
Meanwhile, the lovely lady with the combed hair joined what would have been a nice conversation between 3 people (see, you each take a turn) if Ol Jim hadn’t been hogging the mike.
So I started talking to the lady thinking okay, Jim, I’m feeling pretty damn crappy today and you are getting on my last frayed nerve, so let me school you on shut your damn mouth, you ill-mannered, willfully ignorant, Fox-watching, bigoted, clueless blowhole.
I could have sworn there was a knowing glance pass between me and lovely lady. Or it could have been the prescription cough medicine I took 30 minutes before, I couldn’t tell. But, within 3 minutes lovely lady with the combed hair and I had completely excluded Jim from the conversation.
He was left trying to “get a word in edgewise” I think men like him would say when two women are talking, He was ready to regale us with how he came to live in Houston for 44 years and how his wife’s tuition at a local university was paid for the whole time she was in college and they didn’t find out who the benefactor was until graduation day. Imagine that. All that time and we didn’t know who was paying. Guess who it was?
Exxon. Exxon paid for her college. Can you believe it he says. Like it was jubilee or something. Oh my! Isn’t that just wonderful! That wonderful Exxon. Because today I’m petty, unpleasant and didn’t comb my hair I said, well, I guess that depends on what your opinion is of Exxon whether that’s a good thing or not, precipitating a slight guffaw from lovely lady and a blank stare from Jim.
When they called me in for treatment, Jim had worked his monologue up to how Houston had changed since the 60’s. He was just about to start in on some high Kennedy-hippie hate when lovely lady agreed and remarked in general about change.
As I got up I said how I guess change was good or we’d all be still be bacteria. I think it went right past Jim. But lovely lady got it and agreed. I started to say “we’d all still be chimps” but I wasn’t going to be around for the fun of his response, so I left it at that.
Yep, we got old Jim today, but I have a feeling he’ll back tomorrow. Unscathed, unbowed and watching that pretty little gal Megyn Kelly.
In other news:
Note to phlebotomist with the awesome gray dreads, whoever told you were are good at your job was messing with you. Please go back to sticking school.
Dear lady at the reception area trying to greet patients from 20 feet away in the back of the room because you don’t want to get out of your chair. I cannot hear you. Get up off your lazy ass (because I know you can, I’ve seen you) and talk to me.
Last thing I saw before I took my petty, spiteful self back to the hotel was a young, bald woman with yellowing skin and a very sad face in a wheelchair with an ice bag where a leg should be.
That shut me the hell up.
Carry on, Jim the Volunteer.