Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Stuff I think about when I'm not thinking about cancer

Not feeling super cancery these days.  So that's awesome.  But bad for my blog.  Lots of other stuff I could write about, I suppose:

Like, how badly it sucks to be a black person in this country.  A friend and I were talking about it today - thinking about all of the ways that we kill black people: We shoot them; we under-diagnose and under-treat them; we arrest them without cause so that they kill themselves; we under-educate them. Anyway, you get the point.

Or I could write about the weather - LOVE IT!  I love summer. Everything about it.  Heat. Humidity. Bring it.

Or Donald Trump. God bless the man for the great humor and joy that he brings to my life every time he opens his mouth.

Or Israel and Palestine. Sigh. Easier to write about cancer.

Or my many many house guests who give me the chance to make things like pancakes and waffles and train-shaped birthday cakes.

Or gender categories that are constantly changing and expanding, so that the language is finally trying to keep up with the fluidity and complexity of gender itself.  Today, for example, I heard the term "gender flux." Cool.

So that's what's going on.  Off to take my Xeloda.

Friday, August 7, 2015

The purse

Yesterday I visited the infusion unit for my regular dose of Zometa.  I sat down in my Lazy Boy chair and looked at the two men who sat in their own Lazy Boy chairs across from me.  There are curtains in the infusion unit, but most folks don't use them.  Among us non-curtain users there's a vibe of, "Yes, I have cancer, but basically I'm fine.  Just stoppin' by for a little dose of sumpin' sumpin'."  This  non-curtain use also means that we can't help staring at each other from time to time.  Sometimes there are short conversations, but often not.  Just an unspoken shared understanding.  Kind of like, "Sucks, huh?"  "You know it."  "Could be worse, though."  "No doubt!"  "Alright, I'm gonna try to read my book now." "Enjoy."

Anyway, one of my two men from yesterday was sitting with his wife; the other was alone.  There was a regular chair next to his Lazy Boy.  It had a purse on it and some other stuff.  I thought, "That's weird.  There's a chair for his wife's stuff, but where does she sit? And where is she?"  I had to figure this out.  Who cares about Middlemarch or email when there's a mystery at hand in the infusion unit?!  I concluded that the wife had gone off to do some errand and had left her stuff on her chair in the meanwhile.  Still, that was a lot of stuff that she would have to hold in her lap when she returned.  Then I decided that she must have just dropped off her stuff (on the chair) when they arrived, gone on her errand, and would surely get another chair for herself when she returned.  Good work, Gina.

But wait.  About 10 minutes after I had solved the mystery and returned to Middlemarch, the man picked up the purse and started looking for something.  Comfortably, I mean.  As if it were his own purse.  I had to rethrink.  Continuing my observations, it became clear to me that the purse was indeed his own.

"Well, why not?" I mused.  "Why can't a man have a purse that clearly was designed as a woman's purse?"  So there is no wife on an errand.  That chair is holding the man's stuff, which includes a woman's purse, which a man has the right to own.

Mystery solved.  I felt righteous. Liberty and Justice and Women's purses for all!

About twenty minutes later, I was pulled from the pages of Middlemarch by the sounds of the conversation that was happening across the room from where I sat.  Two nurses were chatting with my man, disconnecting his IV, and helping him get ready to leave.  And then I heard his voice.  Oh.  My man is a woman.  A woman without hair.  A fabulous woman who has put gold temporary jewelry tatoos on her bald head.  A woman with a purse.

Wow. So much for me as enlightened gender educator.  Purse=wife.  Bald=man.  Except when they don't.