Now that the memory of my grandmother’s day had slowly faded away, the second most memorable thing I experienced was with my best friend Cliff and a bouncer at a nightclub. Now most people going through chemo and even doctors would probably tell you that a club is the last place you should go when your sick. But what can I say, I was 23 years old and I didn’t want to feel different nor lose that time in my life because of this disease. I wanted to feel normal so bad that I did things I probably should not have done or attempted. But this night Cliff and I decided to give it a go and hit a nightclub in the city.
Cliff came and picked me up from my house and when he saw me he began to laugh. When I asked him what was so funny, he simply replied with, “you look like we are going to the snow and boarding.” I began to laugh with him as I walked over to the mirror to check myself out. So there I was with a beanie, scarf, jacket over a sweater, pants and boots on. All that was missing now where my goggles and I would be ready for the snow and not a club. I couldn’t stop laughing at this point because never in a million years did I ever think I would dress myself like this! But when you are going through chemo and really sick, the 60-degree weather feels more like 20 degrees, so I went a little over board and overdressed. So after my mother and cliff helped me pick out a nice yet warm outfit, we hopped in the car and took off to the city.
While we were driving cliff kept making sure the temperature in the car was ok and the music wasn’t to loud. I looked at him and said, “I’m not 80, and if anything is wrong I’ll tell you.” He started laughing as did I, but the feeling of a great friend that truly cares is priceless and more than I could ask for. As we pulled up to the parking lot of the club we were going to, he made sure I was up for going in and let me know if at anytime I felt sick, we can go.
So now at this point Cliff and I are waiting in line to get in, and this girl behind us starts up a conversation. Not even one minute into it, she looks at me and says, “you ok? You look really sick or something.” I started laughing and replied with: “ Yeah I’m sick, but it’s ok cancer is not contagious!” Unfortunately, my humor was not that funny, and think she may have taken it the wrong way. But that was myself hiding behind the fact that I was afraid of anyone knowing I was sick or treating me different because of it. After I noticed she was uncomfortable with our interaction I quickly turned around and kept to myself. Now if that weren’t awkward enough my encounter with the bouncer would be a million times worse.
Here is how the interaction with the bouncer went as he called me up to check my ID:
Bouncer: You got an ID?
Me: Yeah it’s right here.
Bouncer: Um, yeah you can go in but you got to take that hat off.
Cliff steps in front of me to talk to the bouncer.
Cliff: Hey man he can’t take that hat off.
Bouncer: What is it glued to his head or something?
Cliff: No he is going through chemo and needs to keep his head warm.
Bouncer: Wow, that a new excuse I haven’t heard yet. Good try. Either you take off your hat or don’t come in at all.
Me: It’s ok Cliff I can handle this.
So at this point I looked at the bouncer and gave him an eye opening experience.
Me: So this is a new excuse for you huh? Well trust me if I could have done my hair that I barely have I would have.
Bouncer: Look its not my problem and don’t have time for people that make excuses.
What I did next was the almost like being a performer on Venice beach with a big audience. So I took off my hat, licked my hand and wiped the top of my head from back to front. I then showed my hand to the bouncer that was now covered in hair, and said, “So do you think this is still an excuse for me trying to where my hat?” The bouncer was lost for words and just looked at me and around at everyone that was watching. Now some would say I went a little overboard, but I felt like this had to be done and he needed to know his attitude was not ok.
After he was able to collect his thought, he said, “I am really sorry and hope you can forgive me for being rude like that.” I quickly told him that it was ok and some people jut don’t have a clue, then I told cliff I wanted to go somewhere else. Cliff and I started heading back to his car and that’s when I began to break down.
Was I different? Why do people look at me as if I am already dead? But this part of my memory never gets answered because I start to snap out of the vault that hold my memories and back into reality.
So here I am again sitting on my bed, and back in the present time. What’s next in my life? With out hesitation I begin to shuffle through the papers on my desk, and there it is, my bucket list. Now it was time to check another item off on my list!