Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Feeling Like an Inconvenience

decided to bring the kids to church and then take them to get their hair cut. To a regular person this might sound like a simple day, but to me it’s a huge endeavor. Driving the car means I can’t take my pain medicine. And doing more than one activity a day is just so utterly exhausting—since I got cancer.

Anyway, when we left church, my back had stiffed from sitting in the pew. And there’s this strange feeling that creeps in from where the tumors are. It reminds me of when someone has a festering wound, something they just want to slather with Neosporin—that’s how the tumors feel inside of my body sometimes. But nothing has been taking that feeling away...nothing yet anyway.

So, I limped into the hair salon and passed a family that left as we entered. Two hairdressers (who didn’t have clients at the moment) laughed and joked; another helped a patron toward the back of the shop. I realized none of them had seen me and my two youngest kids until one of them turned and sighed.

“Did you check in online?” the woman asked, giving me a once-over.

“I didn’t.”

She shook her head. “Well, you should have. You might have to wait for a while.” And the way she said it, I felt like a huge inconvenience.

I stood against the wall. They’d taken away the chairs because of COVID, and after a while of watching the two available hairdressers BS, my leg started shaking from the pressure. I should have left then, but my kids have needed their hair cut for a couple of weeks.

“I can do this,” I thought. “I can stay!”

Then, my thoughts wandered, and I thought again about being an inconvenience. I wondered what the main beautician had gone through to act the way she had when we’d come in. Maybe she’d had an incredibly busy day, and she just needed a break. But still, I’d finally gotten out of the house, I have cancer for crying out loud, and I did not need her attitude.

My thoughts turned to other things: I guess being a burden is something I’ve worried about my whole life. I want to make people’s lives better, not worse. And now that I have cancer, so many people are worried. So many people have had to help take care of me, doing things I simply can’t anymore. 

After about five minutes one of the women left with orders of what her coworkers wanted to eat. I thought the other woman might start bringing the kids back, but instead she began sweeping the floor—in slow motion.... After another 10 minutes, I finally couldn’t take it anymore 

“How can I help you?” she said in monotone after I’d limped to the counter. 

What was her deal? What had I done to anger this stranger?!

My back suddenly turned to fire. It wasn’t good that I’d stayed standing so long without my walker. “Please! Take me off of your ‘waiting list’!” I hadn’t meant for the words to come out that way, but my filter left a few months ago.

“Well—you don’t have to get angry.”

I blinked. She had no idea how much effort it had taken to come to their store. No idea about the cancer. No idea how happy I’d been to finally be doing something on my own. 

At that moment a man walked in and the beautician turned. “Did you check in online?”

“I did,” he said.

“Right this way,” she responded. 

My son’s mouth fell open. “That was ridiculous.”

Both of my kids headed to the door. And as I limped out of the beauty salon with my children, I could have cried.

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