I was in the shoe section when a woman approached me and asked me for the time. “I can’t reach my phone” she said. Her arm was weighed down with various clothing items; her purse buried deep underneath.
“Heh, sure.”, I replied, and happily reached into my own purse to grab the time: “2:22”.
“Thanks!” she said. Feeling quite satisfied (my daily quota for human interaction fulfilled) I turned to leave. But it seemed she wasn’t done talking yet.
“I’m looking for shoes like these” she continued, showing off her flat and strappy silver sandals. “But I can’t find them anywhere. I’d really like them in a gold or a black.”
Now, I’m not a shoe girl. Or even a ‘fashion in general’ girl. So this question threw me off a bit. I said something dumb like, “Oh? Hm. Shame. They’re always changing things up…”.
Then she followed through with, “… I got these sandals 2 years ago when I was first diagnosed with cancer.”
And while I was struggling to come up with a decent response, she swiftly disappeared around the corner.
It seemed weird. To announce to a stranger that you have cancer and then turn and walk away. I think I’m glad she did though. It at least saved me from awkwardly trying to portray my sympathy. Maybe she didn’t want sympathy, I don’t know. I have a feeling my best response would have been, “Uhh…that sucks.”.
How do I tell someone who has cancer that cancer is awful? I’m still unable to come up with anything after the fact, as I replay the scenario over and over in my head. (I do this with every social interaction- it gets tiring)
“Oh, cancer? What kind?”- Cancer is like ice cream, in that there are many different flavors. Except they’re all awful.
“Oh…are you better now?”- I sure hope so, otherwise I’d feel like a real jerk for asking!
To add to the uncomfortableness, I was getting a heavily flirty vibe from this woman. Now that I think of it, she may have been trying to pull some 50/50 style moves on me. Maybe she bailed once she got a whiff of my genuine 100% straightness.
But that can’t be. I don’t get hit on by women, or anyone for that matter.
I did recently cut my hair pretty short. I look like a less handsome Eric from Boy Meets World. With boobs.
Yeah, that explains it. I must be irresistible now.