“Stop apologizing for the things you’ve never done!” — Paul Weller, “Town Called Malice”
This has been on my mind for some time now.
Having come to womanhood at a moderately advanced age, I’ve only noticed this in the past year or two. And it’s been on my mind and in my craw for a while now.
But it came to the surface this afternoon in a place I didn’t expect.
Since last summer, every other Thursday has found me taking someone close to me for chemo. We head to the cancer center, he has blood drawn, every other visit he has an appointment with his oncologist, and then he settles into a recliner in the chemo room for the next two or three hours as the caustic chemicals drip into the port in his chest. And as he settles in, I go for lunch.
This afternoon, when I returned from lunch, I stopped to use the bathroom across the hall from the chemo room.
The door was locked. I only waited maybe two or three minutes. Quite often, a patient wheels his/her IV rack into the loo with them, so I figured that was what was happening.
And that’s indeed what it was. And the door opened, and slowly, a chrome stalk of metal with a plastic bag dangling from the top emerged, attached to the left arm of a young woman, late 20s/early 30s, in sweats and winter boots, dark head of hair shorn to the stubble. And she looked at me with a sheepish grin and said the magic words:
Wait. She’s sorry? The cancer patient lugging her IV around is apologizing to me for the crime of using the bathroom?
What’s wrong with this picture?!?