Thursday, November 19, 2009

I did it, but I blew it

I'm sure most cancer patients do it, because I definitely do. We imagine situations where someone bothers us about our hair and how we would respond. I've never actually been in a situation where someone gave me a hard time about being bald, so none of these imaginary things to say have ever been necessary.

Today I was at the mall because I'm trying to visit every germy public place that I can before I have to go into seclusion for my transplant. One of the delightful parts of being at the mall is all of the little kiosks where people try to sell you whatever weird product they are pushing, usually some kind of perfume or lotion or nail thing. I don't like being harassed in the hallway of the mall. I'm usually in a hurry, and no, I don't want your silly nail strengthening product.

As usual, a salesgirl harassed me today. I tried to avoid her by peering intently into the Banana Republic window display as I rushed by, but no, her incessant calling of "Miss! Miss!" forced me to pay attention to her. I really hope she doesn't spray me with perfume before I can say no, I thought to myself. And then she asks a question:

"How long does it take you to straighten your hair?"

As I've said before, I'm not actually bald yet. I have very, very thin hair that I'm keeping in a ponytail, which mostly conceals bald spots and makes it look like I still have a mostly normal head of hair. My hair is pretty thick normally and I had chemotherapies that aren't too hair toxic, so the two combined mean that I have been able to pretend I still have hair, even though I don't really. But I'm the only one who knows that, and it's complicated to explain why I still have hair despite having had chemotherapy, or I did actually have chemotherapy despite the fact that I still have hair. It's confusing. And I know that eventually I will be completely bald and have no hair, so in my mind I basically don't have hair right now.

There are so many ways I could have responded, and I chose the most illogical one.

"I have cancer. I don't have hair." Then I walked away. I immediately felt bad.

There are so many ways I could have responded. A simple "not interested" or "no thanks." Or just walking away without saying anything. Or if I really wanted to bring cancer into the discussion, I could have said "I have cancer, I'll be bald in a couple of weeks." That is actually a true statement. But I chose to say that I have no hair currently, despite the fact that I do have hairs attached to my scalp on my head that everyone can see. She probably thinks that I was lying about having cancer just to get away from her. Awesome.

What really bothered me though, and what bothers me now, is that it really wasn't necessary. She was just trying to do her job, it isn't her fault that I have cancer or that I'm mostly bald and won't have to worry about straightening my hair for a very long time. She probably feels badly, and there was no reason to say something like that to her. I'm also irritated that I blew what is probably the only chance I'll get to say something like this to someone. It will always be a bad story about how I screwed up and was unnecessarily mean to some poor salesgirl.

Now I had to do something to make myself feel better, so I decided to get some Starbucks and grab a cupcake from a new cupcake stand in the mall. I had to do a taste test for Leesa, who is famous for her cupcakes! I highly recommend the seasonal Gingerbread Latte at Starbucks, and my cupcake was AMAZING. See how good it looks:

I chose the Samoa Cupcake, which is "Coconut graham cracker bottom below our coconut chocolate chip cake topped with our coconut graham cracker crumble then drizzled with caramel and our homemade ganache." This cupcake was fantastic! It was super moist, the chocolate chips were yummy and melty, the coconut was just sweet enough and not too sweet, it was just super delicious and huge. It's from a local, family run bakery and I highly recommend stopping by one of their stores if you are ever in the Southeast Michigan area. Note: their location information is not up to date, they have at least one other location, and I know because that's where I was today!


Mary Community Farm Kitchen said...

If you want cupcakes, you need to go to The Cupcake Station, which is just down the street from the downtown Post Office (trying to maintain the veil of secrecy here). Their cupcakes are incredible--just had one this evening with the kitchen crew. I'll take you there before your date with the marrow!

In other news, don't beat yourself up over the salesgirl. I'm sure it's not the worst response she's ever gotten--I mean, who approaches someone with beautiful, natural curls and asks them if they straighten? Um, if I straightened my hair, it wouldn't be curly right now, right?

Mary Community Farm Kitchen said...

Also, ps, your hair deception is quite successful in my opinion--you've been looking great!

au soleil levant said...

Thanks for the cupcake suggestion! We should definitely go, maybe we can go to another bakery on that street at the same time I've been meaning to go to? A gourmet afternoon?

Thanks for the kind words about my hairdo and the salesgirl. She's probably forgotten all about it, I just wish the whole episode had gone better than it did.

Zhu said...

Don't feel guilty. First, she probably forgot about it by now. Sure, maybe you could have said something else but at the same time, I understand how annoying it is to be "harassed" by salesperson. Plus, it is kind of a bad time for you now.

Same thing as telemarketing: I have been borderline rude a few times and felt bad about it after, thinking that after all, they were only doing their job. On the other side, I didn't ask to be called about stupid product at 9:00 am on a Sunday.

Starbucks has awesome pastries. I have to avoid looking at them when I go grab a coffee because I just want to buy everything!

Have you tried the hot fudge bar? It's super yummy!

Leesa said...

Hey Mir,

I think you are allowed your "slip ups" but I totally understand what you mean about feeling bad afterwards.... In fact, it's like the ol' foot in the mouth, yeh?!
Maybe you were thinking... AH ha... I'll say something that will really shock her and shut her up!! I know what you mean.. I think I have said stuff like that before, too... on a different subject with with the intention to get someone off my back with a remark that I felt bad about saying, afterwards...
I am glad you consoled yourself by trying out another cupcake, though... I am happy to get the report.. and YUM! Did that Samoa look TASTY!! Almost as tasty as the Samoans I watched on tv last night during the rugby match between France and Samoa... I think my new favourite country is SAMOA!!! hehehe!!

I'd like to go with you and Mary to the Cupcake Station.. Count me in -- en espirit... : )

Take care,

au soleil levant said...

Zhu - yeah, that's true. I've never had any of the pastries from Starbucks, I'll have to check out that hot fudge bar!

Leesa - Guess we've all been there done that. I have lots of yummy pics for you from the cupcake place!

Zhu said...

Please, just try the pastries! Now, don't blame me if you gain 200 pounds, but trust me... they are so good I even considered working at Starbucks to nibble on them for free (but I guess you can't, so it would be torture to stand around them all day without being able to eat them).