4 July 2012

Too Busy to Call

‘I’ve been meaning to call you,’ said an acquaintance, by way of greeting, when I ran into her on the street. ‘I’ve heard about what’s going on, and I meant to call.’ My brain, temporarily paralyzed, couldn’t come up with any big words. So I said, ‘Oh.’ But she wasn’t finished yet, ‘Yeah, I’m so sorry, but I’ve been really busy.’ And then, like a bad velvet painting, she opened her eyes, cocked her head to one said, and said, ‘How ARE you?’

Now this is a woman I quite like, and have socialized with on many occasions. We’re not besties or anything, but we’ve acknowledged each other’s birthdays, and shared several bottles of red wine.  Frankly, I was a little surprised that I never heard from her. Canceriitis is a big deal, and even people who I don’t like (and may not like me) have come out of the woodwork to offer their support. Nevertheless, I would never hold this against her. Nobody is obligated to call. The support I’ve received was more touching and incredible than I could ever have imagined, and everyone has their reasons for how they choose to connect.

So the fact that she didn’t call doesn’t bother me - I just thought her excuse was bullsh*t. If she truly wanted to call, she could probably have found one minute somewhere in the 365 days since I received my diagnosis. Had she said she’d been ‘meaning to climb Kilimanjaro’ but was ‘too busy’ I would be more understanding. I would sympathize with the intense physical training, the necessity of tracking down a reliable sherpa, and the search for some really cool snow pants. But a phone call only takes a minute, and assuming that she sleeps eight hours a night, she’s had a total of 350,400 minutes since my diagnosis to dial my number.

So the fact is, she probably didn’t want to call. And if that’s the case, it’s better not to say anything at all because a bad excuse is really insulting. She may have had an ultra busy year, but I know for a fact that she found time to watch Dancing with the Stars, and that means that in terms of importance, Chaz Bono rates higher than me.

So ‘too busy to call’ didn’t make me feel warm and fuzzy. It didn’t make me feel anything but insulted. 'Nice to see you!’ would have been a far superior greeting, and hopefully it would have been true. I also would also have been happy with, ‘How are you?’ or the more preferable, ‘You have hair!’

Eventually my acquaintance and I started a conversation, and she was starting to fill me in on all the details of her fabulous life when she was distracted by a jingling in her purse. ‘Shit,’ she said digging around in her gigantic handbag, ‘That’s me.’ Finding her phone, she checked the incoming number and said, ‘I’m so sorry, I have to take this, but I’ll just be a second. Please, don’t go away.’

Seriously?!  I was supposed to stand there while she displayed how easy it was to press the buttons on the phone? No can do, sister. Gotta go. I’m too busy to wait.