A few months ago, a young whimper snapper dared to give me a senior discount. It was an innocent mistake, maybe a kind gesture, but, at 45 years old, I was indignant. I didn’t yell but my sneer was heard by her manager. I didn’t mean to make her cry.
I spend a lot of time on my balcony these days. From my "penthouse" condo. I get to mark the months by the switching out of the billboard, watch the sunset and the sunrise color each day no matter the season, no matter what is going on in my life or in the world, see the beautiful skyline, a beacon of stability, watch every firework display on Fourth of July or New Year's Eve without being stuck in crowds or worrying how I would get home. I also watch people stand at the bus stop waiting to pay two dollars and twenty-five cents to get on a crowded bus to go to work each morning. The numbers of those at the bus stop are getting smaller and the buses aren't nearly as crowded these days.
When I asked my doctor if the statistics I read were right -- 50% ten year survival rate for people in my demographics who had what I had, she said a few things:
As a child, I often dreamt of being rescued by Ponch of Chips, treated by Hawkeye of MASH, befriended by Bo of Dukes of Hazards. These gentle, sometimes compassionate characters were calming to my subconscious.
April 20, 2008: “I got your blood test results from the physical I gave you last week. After watching your white blood cell count rise the past few months, I need you to make an appointment with Anne Mellott. She’s a hematologist/oncologist …” The squirrel cage runs in my head. Let’s see: Hema-. That’s blood. Oncologist. That’s cancer. Blood … cancer … blood …. cancer. Where have I heard that combination before? DAD. “Wait a minute,” I said to the doctor. “Do you think I’ve got leukemia?” A pregnant pause. “Yes,” she said.
I'm going to miss my view. As a privileged person, the only sacrifice I am really making is I will lose the beautiful view from my balcony. A few weeks ago, a local webzine published a fluff piece about the plan to replace the building across the street from me with a five story rental building ($2000/m rent) and commercial space on the first floor along with enclosed parking. In the article, it stated that residents can bring concerns to an aldermanic meeting two days later. Jimmy's Pizza, a neighborhood staple located in the building in question stated at said meeting that the article was the first they heard of the plan. The alderman was shocked and told the developer to go back to the drawing board in response to Jimmy's concerns. Jimmy's has great New York style pizza and beignets. The establishment employs several neighbors and delivers to residents of the area.