May 29, 2007

More Cancer Blogging: The "People Suck" Edition

Quickly, because I've got a life to lead while I'm feeling well enough to lead it...

  • I've come up with a new slot to peg another group of gogglers listed out in this post and it is the Who Let the Sick Person Out? Jesus, Really, My Latte Has 95% Less Sugar-Free Vanilla Now That A Bald, Sick Person Was Allowed to Enter My Orbit People.

    Curiously enough, they never say anything; when they lay their eyes on me, they simply look like someone abruptly shoved a lemon into their mouth and forced them to suck on it.

    According to these people, I'm, evidently, committing an etiquette faux pas when I'm out and about. It seems as if you look sick, you should be keeping your bald self at home, where you don't ruin this particular group's day by reminding them cancer exists.

  • I was at the grocery store yesterday, picking up some things I needed for supper. Since it was a holiday, there were only a few cashiers working, and, as there were only a few people milling about the cash registers, it seemed as if the management had scheduled appropriately to maximize the employee-customer ratio for the benefit of all involved.

    I had five items in my hands, and because I wanted to get in and get out, like most normal human beings, I entered the lane with no people in line to pay. This should be standard operating procedure, no?

    Well, that's where you'd be wrong, my devoted Cake Eater readers.

    Two lanes over, an older, mustachioed gentleman, dressed up for the holiday in a sports coat, slacks, a polo shirt and loafers, was chatting with some friends he'd spotted. This is a normal occurrence in the local Cake Eater grocery store. It's a pretty tight-knit community and it's rare to go to the store and not run across fellow customers having a chat with friends they've run into. It's nothing out of the ordinary. Yesterday, however, was the exception that proved the rule.

    I entered said empty lane, thinking nothing of it. While I was waiting for the cashier to finish up with the person in front of me, I look over and I see the gentleman wrapping up his conversation and moving toward my lane. When he was halfway there---and keep in mind, we're talking about a single check-out lane's worth of distance----he said something, loudly, to his friends that implied someone had taken his spot in line. I don't remember exactly what he said, but the meaning was clear: someone had hoarked what was rightly his and he felt he needed to make a point about it. He followed it up with, "But I should probably let her go first anyway, don't you think?" It didn't take a rocket scientist to suss out that he was referring to me.

    While I was standing there, stunned, I wondered how he could have possibly thought I'd stolen his place in a line he was patently not occupying. Before I got too far into my mental meanderings, however, he then laughed in manner that I'm sure he thought would proclaim to the world that he was a wit, because not only had he managed to school me, he'd managed to come off as a good, properly sympathetic human being for being generous to a cancer patient.


    If the jerk thought I'd taken his place---which I don't possibly see how ANY REASONABLE PERSON could deduce since he wasn't, ahem, in line, but was TWO, count 'em, two lines over---then he should have said so. Don't give me a freakin' pass because you think I'm on the verge of death. Spare me your fucking benevolence, pal. I've got people who are paid cash money to give me a hard time---and, believe you me, they don't care that I'm a cancer patient; I don't need to take your garbage for free.

    Yet, if you insist on dishing it out, that's just fine. I can take it.

    But you'd better be prepared for me to give it right back to you.

    Unfortunately, however, I didn't get the chance to unload both barrels at the guy because the bastard didn't even get into his precious line! He went to the cashier next to me. Can you believe this shit? The guy didn't even give me a chance to rip him a new one. The gall of it!

While the overwhelming majority of people whom I've come across since I've gone bald have been very, very kind, it's people like this who remind you that, well, perhaps we haven't evolved as much as we'd like to think we have. These people are unbelievably self-centered. They think the world revolves around them and their wishes, and if they're nice to me, well, it's still all about them. Don't get me wrong: I'm not looking for any favors or special treatment; I just want to be treated like I would be if I had hair.
Most people go out of their way to make sure this is the end result of their efforts. I've been behind the counter before---I know how hard it is to ignore what's right in front of you to make sure you offer an unusual customer the same customer service experience everyone else gets. My former employers actually trained us to do this. This training, when it became patently clear it was the correct way to go, bled into everyday life. I assumed most people knew this. I was wrong, I guess, to make that assumption. That my wrapped up, chemo'ed head can and does bring out the worst in some people, is something quite interesting, eh, my devoted Cake Eater readers?

There's insight to be had everywhere you look. You just need to observe to find it.

Posted by Kathy at May 29, 2007 10:46 AM | TrackBack

It is my theory that the world is pretty easily divided: Just Folks and Assholes.

Just Folks are the people who do what they can to make a living and are usually decent, polite people.

And then there are the Assholes. You nailed it when you said "self-centered." And they will get their bad karma back. Threefold. Trust me.

I'm sorry that you had that encounter. But I would have felt just as sorry you had to deal with that bastard dickhead if you had chemo or not; just so you know.

I love you, you know.


Posted by: Margi at May 29, 2007 03:13 PM

Regarding that last bit of my previous comment: The first person to hum "Wind Beneath My Wings" gets a spork in the eye.

Oh lookie! I did backspace over "You are my hero."



Posted by: Margi at May 29, 2007 03:14 PM

Kathy, you've proven once again that you're a better woman than I am. I'd have chased the ass down and ripped him a new one. I agree, the gall! You're right, he probably wasn't worth the energy. Take some satisfaction in knowing that he's just another miserable asshole.

Posted by: Janette at May 29, 2007 03:41 PM

What Janette said. I'm incredibly frustrated that the guy was too much of a coward to stick around for a response! What a pathetic loser!

Margi's right--karma's a bitch. People like that can't get away with being an asshole forever, after all.

Anyway, yeah. "I just want to be treated like I would be if I had hair." It sucks being DEFINED by the disease--as though you're a non-entity without it, or something. It'll pass, of course--not that it makes it any easier right now.

Look on the bright side, though: it's sorta like being pregnant, except nobody's patting your head (thank God!). ;-)

Posted by: Beth at May 30, 2007 01:50 PM

Been in your position, round about 2 years ago; all that kept me sane was remembering 'Paybacks are a bitch!'

Posted by: Michele at June 1, 2007 12:54 PM