Amy and I only have one car right now. RuthMom had her car down here for awhile but returned it back to the NW over the holidays, so if Amy ever has to work when I have any appointments, Ruthmom will rent a car. Today, we returned the latest rental (a white VW Beetle…it was great, I was kicking butt at “Slug Bug” all week) and when I walked into the rental place (my mom was cleaning out the car…and I had to go to the bathroom really bad), it was completely packed. I was wearing a hoodie and a wool beanie and an elderly gentleman with a belly like Santa, (but wearing cool kicks…kicks are “shoes” for those who don’t use such lame “hipster” terms like I do…I’m a shoe guy, so I’m always staring at people’s feet and all old dudes in LA wear cool “kicks”. It’s a thing down here. I guess) yelled at me, “Are you insane?! It’s 80 degrees outside. You have to be boiling!” He did have a point, it was hot out, but I’ve actually lost about 35 pounds since I was first in hospital. Now I will admit, I probably could have afforded to lose a little weight, but moral of the story is that I’m not a big dude, so I’m cold all the time, and right now my body is still feeling the effects of Chemo, so I’m extra vulnerable to getting sick and as a result I like to bundle up. I also wear a hat all the time because my hair isn’t all back yet (it’s getting there though) and a hat also helps me to stay warm.
Now that everyone in the rental place was staring at me, instead of getting defensive, I decided to see it as an opportunity to “spread awareness” (besides, the dude had cool kicks, so I had to be nice, right?). I took my hat off (so that he could see the bald spot on the front of my hairline) and said, “Yeah, it’s weird, I know, but I had a brain tumor and I’m on Chemo right now so it takes a lot for me to keep warm.” The elderly man (with the cool kicks) turned red then nodded and responded with, “Okay now it makes more sense, I was gonna say.” I put my hat back on and said, “Yep, that’s the thing. Cancer doesn’t really make much sense. If it did…I don’t think it would be such a big problem.” then I finished by nodding at his feet and saying, “Cool kicks!” He immediately responded with, “Huh?”. Then the young guy next to him said in a loud booming voice, “HE LIKES YOUR SHOES!” The elderly man smiled and nodded at me and said, “You get better now!”
Here’s a little update on my hair…
This story sorta reminded me of a recent anecdote Amy and I experienced with our kitty, “Girl”. Girl is a white persian which = “high maintenance”. I’ll admit, it can be a little embarrassing to me sometimes, because we have to take her to the groomer and brush her and get her bathed and give her a hair cut all the time. I’m just not used to such a high maintenance animal and I can be especially self-conscious when I’m hanging out with the “bros” at our place and she comes out to say “hi”, the look on every dude’s face is saying to me, “Why would you put up with such a prissy, high maintenance cat, dude?”. I’ve since realized that I’m probably reading way to much into their faces and it’s just what I’m saying to myself on the inside as some type of defense mechanism against feeling emasculated. Girl is a rescue kitty that StaceMom (Amy’s mom) found on Petfinder.com. When StaceMom got her, she smelled like cigarettes, all her hair was matted and gross, and she had a bad tooth. It finally hit me recently that the reason she got neglected and abandoned in the first place is because she was too “high maintenance”. I am now super proud that we take really good care of her (and provide her with a good home) and for everyone that meets her, they quickly realize that she is not like other cats…in a good way. She is very unique, special, and sweet and has been a source of comfort and entertainment for Amy and I during these past several months. For me, these two stories reminded me of the age-old lessons of “Never judge a book by it’s cover” and to “Love others as you would love yourself”