Sunday, July 27, 2008

Where have all the bonbons gone?

I’m sure that one of the first, if not THE first thing that people think of when they find out they have cancer is this: What’s in it for me? For example, at Superdawg you get a free hot dog on your birthday if your last name ends in “ski”. They realize that as with everything, there's no point to it if you can’t parlay it into some kind of benefit. To this end, the good folks at Slowtwitch have already informed me that apparently there are some races where we get preferential bike racks, which almost makes it all worth it because really, what’s worse than having to get to transition at 5AM just to get a good spot on a rack? I know you similarly competitive folks out there are with me on this. As an aside, is it then wrong of me to employ my standard “elbows akimbo” racing posture, “gently” moving people aside if necessary? It is still a race, after all. In any case – I’m thinking with the whole Breast Cancer Month (February?), those of us afflicted with same should at least be able to get a special deal on, say, a blender, right? I will look into it, and report back promptly.

Another question that comes to mind right away is: What the hell do I say to people? And when? Now, I kind of took care of this by putting everything out on the blog – and as I tell my friends, my rationale is that I’d rather have people know that I’m undertrained AND have cancer, rather than just think I’m undertrained. The problem is that I sort of assume that most people already know what the deal is, by osmosis. So Friday I go traipsing into GAG, since I figure I haven’t graced them with my august presence in a while, and I like to pop in when I can to brighten up their days. And/or make them weep. Of course, perhaps sensing that I’d be showing up, YCBG Matt is there and immediately drops everything to see if I need help. At which point our conversation starts to sound like some weird Short Bus version of “Who’s on First?”

YCBG Matt, with obvious adoration in his voice: "Tasha, how are you? What’s new?"
Me, with a bit of nervous laughter: "Umm, what’s new?"
YCBG Matt: "Yeah, what’s new?"
Me: "Oh, the usual I guess."
YCBG Matt: "What have you been up to?"
Me: "Same old stuff in some ways. Training, cancer, all that....."
YCBG Matt, with a deer-caught-in-headlights look on his face: "Wha....what? Cancer?"
Me: "Well, yeah. I just found out I have cancer. I thought you read my blog?!" I wail.

Now, I felt kind of bad springing this on him, but in my defense I was caught a bit off guard. The truthful answer in this situation to having someone you know ask “what’s new?” is clearly not “oh, nothing, saw the Sox play the other day, and how ‘bout them Blackhawks.” That’s a little incomplete. But perhaps blurting out the truth wasn’t the best either. Though I’m not sure what would have been.

In any case, we soon move on to a more important topic – cycling – and all is right with the world, as we get Sálome set up in record time and am soon traipsing out the door. It truly speaks to my “specialness” as a customer that whenever I go in there, they all drop what they’re doing in order to fix my bike first. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think they were trying to get rid of me, though of course that couldn’t be. I think I just inspire them to greatness. Yeah, that’s it.

Another question that I’m sure is among the top 5 on the list: “Will I have any friends left after all this?” Because you understand, we are a bitter and surly lot – I am speaking of myself here, of course, as I channel my inner Nancy Kerrigan with the “why? WHY? WHY ME?”, though without the sequiny spangly white skating tutu. Though, so far I’ve managed to direct my anger at strangers rather than friends – for the most part. My brother did have the misfortune of uttering the forbidden phrase “it could be worse” on Wednesday after I got home from the doctor’s appointment from hell and was in a “mood”, shall we say. My response to him was couched in my usual subtlety, something along the lines of “SURE, it could be worse, if you’re a starving Biafran refugee with AIDS, but I guess that means if you’re not then no one has any right to complain or be unhappy or pissed off about ANYTHING because it could ALWAYS be fucking WORSE, and furthermore you people with perfect happy lives do NOT get to tell ME that it COULD BE WORSE!!”

So that went well, I think.

Otherwise, I’m thinking I could embrace a new motto, moving from “doing the stupid things” to “fear my wrath,” or if I’m in a charitable mood, “just don’t fuck with me.” Whereas before I might have been inclined to let things slide, to hope that people would do the right thing on their own, to bite my tongue, no more. For months now I’ve had the gut rehab from hell going on next door to me, and have put up with the incessant noise at all hours, the dust, the dirt, the trampling on my lawn, etc., without complaint. This week, I went outside and saw my beloved garden doing its best imitation of a post-Mt. St. Helen’s casualty, since the jackasses next door were on the roof tossing tons of roof debris into a dumpster 3 stories below, with all the accompanying dust and debris, and I looked at the layers of dirt/dust coating everything, stopped, walked, stopped, walked......and then yelled up to the workers for their supervisor’s number and promptly called him to express my displeasure. And the next day, they were using a crane to carry the debris down from the roof, as they should have done in the first place. Of course, I discovered this morning that other workers had dumped so much sand against the back fence that it’s pushing everything in and I can no longer open or close my back gate – so that was another terse phone call, this time with a promise to call the police if they don’t take care of the situation pronto. And I have to say, it’s kind of gratifying being bitchy rather than overly nice.

I also feel that signage and such no longer apply to me, so yesterday on my long ride I ignored the “road closed” signs and forged on ahead, carving out my own path with aplomb. Of course, I wound up trudging with Sálome over half a mile of torn up, gravel road, tacking an extra unwanted half hour onto my already six hour ride, but I believe I proved my point. Or something – I’m sure I proved something.

But back to my original question. As I was telling a friend tonight, here it’s been nigh upon 2 weeks since I’ve been diagnosed, and I have yet to have bonbons heaped on me as a sign of support. At least, that’s what we do in Ukraine, though in that case said bonbons are actually more like dusty fudge, enrobed around a wizened hazelnut. But that’s a small distinction. Now, I’m sure there are those of you who are thinking “But Miss Tasha, you really don’t need bonbons, since you’re already shaped like a triangle.” To which I respond.....I say......well.....okay, maybe you have a point. Never mind.

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