Archive for September, 2015

posted by Amy on Sep 22

Last Friday I went to Philadelphia to attend a memorial service on Saturday. I stayed until today (Tuesday). Dear friends who have been unfailingly kind, loving, and hospitable to me let me stay with them. The memorial service was beautiful, like the loved one who died, and I’m glad I was able to be there.

Last night two other guests arrived. One is the wife of a cousin of one of my hosts, and the other is her friend. I don’t expect ever to see either of them again. We had dinner together last night and talked awhile. It was pleasant.

This morning I was making coffee in my friends’ kitchen when the cousin-in-law came in. She barged right over to make herself some toast a couple of feet from where I was working. I was wearing a knitted turban over my bald head. She said, “You seem to have some kind of medical hair loss.” I said, “Um-hmm” and kept making coffee. She said, “My husband had chemo.” I didn’t say anything. She said, “I’m sorry if I offended you.”

That’s what I dislike about chemo that causes hair loss. Some people think it gives them a license to ask personal questions, regardless of any relationship or nonrelationship we might have. And what I dislike about the nosy stranger’s response to my “um-hmm” is that “I’m sorry if you were offended” is a nonapology. A real apology would be, “That was rude and inconsiderate. I’m sorry I behaved boorishly.” By implying that I caused the problem, she tried to shift her discomfort to me. If she had let me make coffee in peace she could have avoided the whole mess.

It may seem incongruous that I willingly disclose all kinds of personal information on this blog, where anybody with an internet connection can get it, but a snoopy in-person encounter bugs me. But it does. I have no control over what people think or say, but I don’t have to dance to anyone else’s tune.



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