Peevishness isn't in remission

McClatchy-Tribune News ServiceOctober 24, 2010 

Every time I turn around these days, some kind, well-meaning person is telling me that once you, or someone you love, has battled cancer, it puts everything in perspective. Daily irritations will recede or even disappear altogether, I'm told.

I remind myself of that when confronted with typical low-level irritants like spilled soda, unraveling hems and cutesy Facebook games "that'll keep the guys guessing what we're up to!" I hate that crap. But it's not worth getting upset over. Cat pees on the floor beside the litter box? Hahahahaha! At least it's not cancer!

In general, the summer of our discontent in which Duh Hubby bravely battled the C monster into remission hasn't been the "wake up call" that everyone promised.

It's more like the non-wake-up call you get when you stay at Uncle Snuffy's Motor Court & Karaoke Pit and you really have to catch a plane and you realize, too late, that you shouldn't have trusted a motel with rotary phones in the rooms.

I've got the gratitude thing down, but where's the much ballyhooed perspective? Hmmmm?

Take last week, when, no lie, my hometown experienced 24 inches of rain in two days. I needed groceries because we were down to having toothpaste for supper, so out I went, into the storm, with the dedication of a pioneer woman forced to forage for high-quality frozen lasagna for her family.

There were lots of fools like me out in the rain but I chose my store carefully because it has a marvelous overhang that allows you to load your groceries at the curb without getting drenched.

I left my filled cart at the curb in the clever groove that keeps it from rolling into the parking lot, presumably in search of a happier life. But when I drove up I discovered a van parked smack in the middle of the overhang area. A woman sat in the van, unaware that her Very Own Private Parking Spot, uh, wasn't.

"Not cancer, not cancer, not cancer," I chanted under my breath but, somehow, ended up screaming: "MOVE YOUR CAR, YOU STUPID COW!!!!!" It should be noted that this was only after a few gentle, Zen-like horn taps that went ignored.

She edged up a few feet but I still got soaked. Disgusted by my behavior, she got out of her van, shot me a look that could've curdled my 2 percent milk and huffed into the store. Notice her car remained parked blocking everyone's access to rain-free grocery loading.

"Not cancer, not cancer, not cancer," I muttered and then looked sympathetically at the line of cars behind me while making huge circles in the air beside my temple and pointing at the van. One man just smiled and shrugged. What had HE been smoking?

So I wait, trying daily to be more meditative, reflective and perspective-filled. But really getting kinda sick of how long it's taking.


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