Let me share an anecdote about my problem solving skills, or lack thereof.
As I’ve stated often, I live in a beach resort area. That means in the summer the population swells, and the rural roads get congested with tourists, making traffic similar to the big cities they’re trying to escape. An errand that would normally take 20 minutes can take hours. In the winter, the roads are mostly unoccupied. Those of us who are “locals”, whether born and raised like myself—“from heres”, and those who’ve relocated/retired—“come heres”, bitch about traffic A LOT. We are a spoiled folk. We like and appreciate tourist dollars, but we so highly value the “quiet, country life” too.
One weekend mid-August I was driving down that beach highway (locals know to stay in their homes on weekends, but I was in an unavoidable situation), and got stuck at an intersection. Of course, a major case of gridlock was in progress. People constantly choose to go forward without giving any thought to the idea that they might not get beyond the intersection when the light turns red.
I had a grim thought that perhaps the best way to stop people from making this choice was to have spikes pop out of the road and puncture their tires as soon as the light turns red. Then maybe people would be less inclined to cross an intersection when their car would clearly still be in the way if the light should go red! Of course I dismissed the idea realizing that if these tires got damaged the cars would be even more stuck, and I’d never get where I wanted to go. A week later I was reading a letter to the editor of a local “newspaper” (scare quotes intentional), suggesting a solution of signage threatening heavy fines at this intersection. Puh-leez! If drivers are ignoring the red light, they’ll just ignore the signs! I sneered as I read the letter aloud to my mom, and then told her my idea of the spikes popping up, in spite of the logistical problems of deflating tires, which I was already mentally trying to resolve.
My mother gasped, rightfully so. I mean, why on earth would I think it OK to punish drivers’ choices with destruction of their personal property? THAT should’ve been the first hurdle to my proposed solution—not those silly logistics.
In my weak defense, I was bitching about all of this to some other locals weary of summer traffic not long after that, and they laughed. The even chimed in with their own fantasy solutions—like wishing for a paint gun or other contraption stuck on their car front to fire away at drivers, or bulldoze them over. I swear, we are not malicious, just tired!
The point in revealing my absurd driver fantasies is to illustrate how my mind goes to the extreme. And you guessed it, when it comes to the relentless display of pink ribbons and such, especially in October, my mind goes to destruction—and that is NOT good!
Those first few Octobers after diagnosis, as I’ve said here before, were just white hot anger about Pink–this was before I found other like-minded bloggers. I wanted to either rip off or spray paint over every single Pink ribbon or save the tat-tas sticker I saw on cars in parking lots. NOT a great idea. I rolled my eyes every time I saw someone wearing some Pink-y clothing item, especially the ones with rah-rah, I-kicked-cancer’s-ass-style slogans. One October, I cut a bunch of BCA’s Think Before You Pink business card-sized fact sheets and surreptitiously taped them to pink ribbon stickered items in the grocery store, in hopes it would make buyers stop and think. Passive-aggressive much, Cancer Curmudgeon?
These days I still grit my teeth when seeing this one jeep parked at a store I frequent (I assume its owner works there), all decked out with pink windshield wipers, a couple of ribbon stickers, and some slogan on the spare tire cover. I grip my steering wheel tight when I see stickers on cars while I zip around town (see 365). And luckily I don’t go out to too many places (too tired after work), but on a rare occasion, I end up out in public with people. As I noted on Facebook the other day I ran into so many Pink-attired women (see Uniform), I had to exert some self-control to keep from confronting and yelling and generally causing a scene.
These are the times I remind myself that there is no one right way to do cancer, and just because the way I’ve chosen is not often respected (again, see Uniform, and a good deal of other posts on this blog) does not mean I get to disrespect those who embrace Pink.
I was never a patient person and after cancer my patience all but disappeared. I think patience is overrated anyway, I mean hey, isn’t “life is short” one of those silly “lessons” cancer is supposed to teach? If so, why should I patiently wait for anything? Why should I be patient with the continued narrative of early detection, be positive, and all that crap that I found damaging–especially if that crap continues to harm current and future breast cancer patients?
But I’m a rash person, prone to flipping out and wanting to rip up stickers, deface property. There are better ways; I’m just not the person to think of them I guess.
I’ll behave, I swear.