I complain. Not completely without merit mind you, but I complain. My throat hurts, everything tastes like metal. I can’t talk, I feel so tired, I feel queasy. You know, annoying complaints.
And then every few days I sit in a waiting room full of really sick people and I feel like a shit.
You see, some of these people are really sick. Like “won’t be on this planet in three months” kind of sick. And yet here they are, playing out the string, dutifully sitting in a lobby, waiting their turn, coughing small bits of blood into handkerchiefs while friends and caregivers lovingly rest a hand on their knee.
Last week I sat down in one of these waiting rooms and tried to lose myself in my Blackberry. A few minutes later, I realized I was sitting next to an older man, maybe seventy. He was sporting an almost identical surgical scar as mine, his face a little gaunt, his neck black and burned from radiation.
He looked up from his magazine and with absolutely no expression on his face reached out his hand.
We shook and – without exchanging a single word – he went back to his magazine.
I didn’t complain for a full 72 hours.
Oh, what magazine was he reading: Elle. The article: “Contour Bras – Be Daring, Clever, Cheeky and Sneaky.”