14 October 2012

The Longest Month of the Year

It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month Year, and once again I find myself wishing I had a handbook of clever comebacks. Because once again I found myself in a situation with my mouth hanging open and the little voice inside my head quietly saying ‘Why don't you just f*ck off.’

I was standing in line at the grocery store, watching for a line-up of tired parents filling their environmentally correct bags with orange juice and cereal. Really mundane stuff.  I got to the cash, had my groceries rung through, and handed the young cashier some money.

‘Do you want to give a dollar?’ she said, without even looking up. Obviously she’s been instructed to ask this question, and obviously she had no emotional investment in the answer.  ‘What for?’ I asked her. ‘Cancer’ she yawned.

I paused for a second, and my mouth might have fallen open. A dollar? I get that it all adds up, and that money needs to be raised, but I don't know where the money actually goes. And is it appropriate to be asked by a party so far removed from the cause, that she can’t even look up from her cash machine. Usually when someone wants something they at least make eye contact. Is cancer so mundane that it becomes part of the grocery list?  So I stood there perhaps a few seconds too long staring at the bored cashier with her greasy ponytail. Then the person behind me leaned forward and gently said, ‘It’s breast cancer awareness month.’

Is it now?!’ I wanted to shout, ‘You don’t say?!’ That's why I see a pink ribbons every time I look at a newspaper or turn on the TV! That why every single woman’s magazine is devoted to stories about  'journeys' and ‘survivors!  Canceritis is always inside my head, and for this month it is always outside my head, too. But  I stayed quiet, my head muddled, wishing that I had my handbook of clever comebacks. 

A tired little cashier wanted me to give a dollar. I’d already given eight months of my life, my cute brown bob, and the shape of my formally perfect boobs for breast cancer. And I’m getting chubby.  Haven’t I given enough? The cashier cleared her throat. ‘Do you want to donate a dollar?'  I shook my short curly head. No thanks. Not today.

And with still 17 days left of official canceritis awareness, I’ve got to start working on my comebacks.

1 comment:

  1. Wow Janet...I've been reading these blogs since you started, and this one moved me the most oout of all of them. I can't even imagine what went through your mind at that moment, but it brought a lump to my throat. You're never far from my thoughts....Derek xoxo