Petty and I Don’t Mean Tom

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.


17 responses to “Petty and I Don’t Mean Tom”

  1. Thank you for sharing your grumpiness. You may not be in the mood for a hug but I am sending one your way anyway!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Maize you are rocking this shitty awful thing called cancer. Good for you and your rage. You deserve it today. Sounds like tomorrow you’ll be back to your old self. And if not, rock on

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I’m sure lately I’ve had more shitty days than good ones, but I’m not worried that my core values remain intact. Besides, I’m an innate smartass. I have to let that out from time to time. : )

      Are you a survivor or patient?


    2. I just found your blog and will follow. You should link it to your avatar and tag.


  3. You made me laugh! Hope that’s ok….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely! I want people to laugh! And that helps me because you laughed. I will never make fun of Jim the Volunteer or anyone because they have or had cancer. What I will make fun of and will never understand is how someone can go through this experience and not come out a more peaceful, aware, tolerant, mindful, focused, self-actualized person than before he or she had cancer. You’ve got one foot in death and one foot in life and if that doesn’t elevate you to a higher more meaningful plane, you’ve squandered a chance at spirituality and joy and purpose. I don’t believe people like Jim can’t learn that lesson. I think they’re too damn selfish to learn it and those are the people I’ll make fun of.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I hear what you are saying. I worked with a guy who was a real jerk to work with. He had a near fatal heart attack (at age 55) and he came back different. That nice side lasted for about 2 years and then he reverted back. We were all hoping for another near fatal (but not fatal) health issue.


  4. In the Navy we learned that there are three subjects an officer does not discuss in the wardroom: religion, politics and the opposite sex. Two of them can get you punched in the nose; the third might get you shot. So the world is my wardroom, unless I know the other person well. What IS it about people who, with hardly a word of introduction, start expounding their political views to perfect strangers?

    So are you being petty? Nuh-uh.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good Navy instruction, ‘specially that last one. I think we all learned some form of this advice. It’s called manners and respect for others — two values Jim didn’t think he needed along the way in his very important and fascinatin’ life.

      Later, tater.


  5. I’m not entirely sure, but I am willing to bet that Lovely Lady thought about you and your strength and your feistiness all night. I bet you she didn’t give good ol’ boy Jim a single thought.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Aww, momshieb, you made me cry. Sweet tears. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Amen, amen, amen. I wanted to jump and shout hallelujahs as I laughed and read your words, similar to thoughts I’ve had about some dense, unaware knotheads.
    If you can maintain this wit while lonesome, grumbling, and itching, I predict you’re going to win this game you’ve been drafted to play.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “…lonesome, grumbling and itching”
      I love it! Perfect description of me that day!


  8. How I loved this post: laughing, feeling, relating, thinking. Thank you for writing that is open, honest, vulnerable, and funny. I’ll be back.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I look forward to it, Aunt Beulah!


  9. I know this is old, but I’ve just caught up with you, (Thank you for stopping by my blog), and just had to write.

    I’m a long term, lung cancer survivor, but I promise not to give you one of those stupid, “I did it, you can too” pep speeches. Everyones case is different. I hated those people.

    But I do sympathize with the pain and discomfort. 25 straight radiation treatments for me. Get up, go for the treatment, get home, throw up until I swore all that was left was my stomach lining, then crawl into bed until tomorrows appointment.

    You know that its ok to feel crappy, and its ok to let others know. A false front is just too much effort at times. And to hell with Jim the volunteer and his stupidity.

    Anyway, I hope you are doing well, and I will definitely follow your blog.


    1. Aw, thanks for your words of encouragement. Glad you’re here!

      Liked by 1 person

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About Me

This blog started out as letters to my dog maizie but devolved into meaningless observations from a half-deaf cancer alumnus introvert navigating the noise you other people make.


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