Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Coffee Mate is mocking me

I can be such a judgemental bitch. From our new offices, I can see one of the corners that Napoleon and his humans often inhabit. I was looking out the window Friday morning and saw Randi and Caleb setting up to panhandle, and Randi stopped and bummed a cigarette from a passer by.

Randi was smoking. I was furious.

She's been treated for both ovarian and pancreatic cancer. And she was smoking!

At lunchtime, I came and went through the side door so I wouldn't see them and they wouldn't see me. I was too angry.

Then, in the afternoon, I went into our office coffee room to replenish my ice water and I saw a fresh supply of Coffee Mate cups had been delivered. Java lovers can choose from original, vanilla and hazelnut. I recalled a story Randi just told me about her most recent hospital stay. She said she missed Napoleon like crazy, and every evening took the little cup of Coffee Mate creamer off her dinner tray and hid it in her drawer. Then, when husband Caleb came to see her, she'd give it to him as a treat for Napoleon. She said it was her way of feeling close to her fur baby when she couldn't see him or hold him.

I took one for Napoleon and was going to give it to them, along with $1, on the way home. But by the time the evening rush arrived, they were gone.

OK Smoking is stupid for everyone. Smoking is reckless and ridiculous for a cancer patient. I'm not wrong about that.

But I'm sure this has occurred to her. And her husband.

I'm also sure I'm in no position to judge her. I haven't spent month after lonely month in the hospital. I don't know what it's like to sleep in a tent because I can't afford both meds and a bed. I don't know what it's like to have to buy a bottle of water so I can use the Starbucks ladies to wash my face and armpits and apply my makeup.

Maybe smoking is one of her few pleasurable activities. Maybe it's something she just doesn't have the strength to quit right now. I don't know.

But my withholding my conversation and the princely sum of $1 over lunch did not change her circumstances. And it made me an ass.

I was worried that the single-serve Coffee Mate would break open in my purse so I took it out and put it on my kitchen counter. Where it is mocking me.

1 comment:

  1. Addictions (of all kinds) can be hard and there's not a lot of logic going on. My dad used to smoke and I bugged the hell out of him to stop. He sat me down and said "I know I don't have a whole long time to live and this gives me pleasure. Could you allow me that pleasure?" and even as a child of 12, I got it. And stopped haranguing him.

    Randi might know things about her condition that we/you don't and for her, maybe it could be the one pleasure she allows herself? Who knows?

    I'm pretty sure I'd get judged by someone peeping in my window for pop-tart snarfing and couch sitting. We're all just human. :)