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Monday, December 8, 2008

The magic hat

Saturday I’d agreed to go with MLSFBF Kat to check out the new Christkindlmarket (read=glogg) that’s in Lincoln Square, and since I’m still in a pissy mood, I decide to wear the Fuck Cancer hat, sensibilities of child-toting yuppies be damned. I’m prepared, however. If anyone dares say anything to me, I’ll tell them that they should see this as a great Teaching Opportunity, to explain to their starry-eyed urchins why cancer is so sucky, how too many people die from cancer each year, and that health insurance companies are Satan’s emissaries trudging amongst us mere mortals here on earth. I think that about sums it up.

But while I’m ready for anything, even I wasn’t prepared for the reality of what actually happened that cold, wintry day in Lincoln Square.....

We got to Lincoln Square, magically found parking, and discovered that instead of being an open air market like the one in Daley Plaza, this was inside a big tent. Fair enough – as long as they have glogg, who cares? We’re standing at a round table drinking our libations, when suddenly I’m hailed by a strapping young man at the next table over.

Cute guy: Hey, awesome hat! Love it!
Me: Thanks!
Cute guy: Yeah, my dad died of cancer 2 months ago. Cancer sucks!!
Cute guy’s also cute friend: Yeah, that’s an AWESOME hat!

I then got a fist pump in my general direction, and we raised our glasses of glogg to each other. Thus buoyed by feelings of solidarity, Kat, Annie and I make our way to our next stop, Merz’s Apothecary, where I’m determined to not buy anything because the thousands of dollars in medical bills, as wrong as they may be, are weighing on me like a yoke. Alas, I succumb.

So I go to the counter with my little selection of nice-smelling soaps, and the 3 shopkeepers behind the counter are irrepressibly jovial. Kat’s buying some stuff at the same time, and she gets her items in a Merz reusable mesh bag, since she bought more. Mine is in a smaller albeit equally adorable paper bag.

MLSFBF Kat: Hey, look at the cool bag I got!
Me: That IS nice.
Girl behind counter: This smaller one is nice too.
Me: Oh, definitely, that’s still an adorable bag.
MLSFBF Kat: But look at how cool mine is!
Guy behind counter, jovially: Oh, let me give you one of those as well!
Me, stammering: But....
Guy: Really, here you go! Merry Christmas....and fuck cancer! Ha! I’ve never gotten to say that to a customer before!
Me: Well there you go then, there’s a first time for everything!

The 3 people behind the counter continue smiling and joking around as we make our way to the door, a bit bemused. I kind of feel like I’m in some weird alterna-world, where the words “fuck cancer” open a magic portal to sunshine and light. Everyone’s so damn chipper and smiley. And if anyone IS giving me the ol’ stink eye, I don’t notice at all. Glogg will do that to a person.

Kat drops me off at home, and I get ready to go to the Christmas party, ready to beat someone with a frozen ham if I have to. This doesn’t turn out to be necessary, but that’s because everyone is so busy talking about their favorite chi-chi restaurants and what stocks to buy and blahblahblah. I guess I should be thankful that unlike at the Tri Club party Wednesday night, no one asks me “Oh yeah, so that cancer, is it gone, are you done with it, are you cured or are you terminal?” No, really. Those are actual words that came out of one drunk person’s mouth. What does one say to that? “Were you born stupid or do you practice that?”

After I extricate myself from the Christmas party, I meet Annette at the Village Tap for a drink. At this point I’m a bit glogged out, so I just order a coke, and we hang out at the bar. Since I’m perpetually cold, I’m still wearing my hat. After a few minutes, I realize that my Coke is nowhere to be seen, and as I look up at the bartender, he realizes the same thing at that same moment, that he totally forgot about it.

Bartender, apologizing profusely: Oh my god, I’m SO sorry about that! I can’t believe I forgot your drink!
Me, pretend-forlornly: It’s the hat, isn’t it....
Bartender: NO, of course not, the hat is great! I love the hat! I just forgot – I’m so sorry! It’s on the house, and...
Me: Oh, that’s not necessary, I’m just teasing you.
Bartender: No really, no charge, and it’s a bottomless glass, all you want all evening, for free!
Me: But...
Bartender: Really! And I’m SO sorry!

And sure enough, as soon as I’m done with my coke, he whisks my glass away and promptly refills it, with a smile no less. Hmm. Hmm........

I think they’re all scared of me. But hell, I’ll take it. Besides, it occurs to me that some of these guys are actually kind of cute. Hmm......

3 comments:

Missy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Missy said...

P.S. MLSFBF? Is that like that George Carlin thing? The 7 words you can't say on TV?

Colleen said...

Oh my God! Who said that?