Sunday, March 09, 2008

Lifestyle Tourism

Yes, this Friday past I got to go and live the life of other people. There is nothing quite as much fun (well being less conspicuous would have helped, then you aren't being stared at as you observe the natives) because you get to both have the anthropological experience of "Wow, they do what?" as well as the enjoyment of doing what they do. YEE HAW I say, with enthusiasm, if not authority.

And if that give away wasn't enough, let me spell it out. I went to a country and western (do you call it a western bar, when you are almost as west as you can get?) bar. I two stepped and drank tequila shots (well, that is not so foreign to me). Can't say as I blended in, I was shamefully overdressed, with a semi-permanent shocked look on my face, and doubled over with laughter much of the time. Although that last part could have more to do with how hysterically funny my date was than the wider company we kept.

It is also worth mentioning that I was on a first date (best first date I've ever had, I might add). So there was the added adventure of throwing caution to the wind and seeing how another half lives. And there I was, surrounded by large belt buckles (my date insists they are jewelry for men - and yes, he had one), stetson hats (in all shapes, sizes and colours - and no, he didn't have one), and beer. Imagine it if you will? If you dare? If you can stand it? Anyway, we danced the night away (and it did devolve from 2-step, which is just as well, since I was rather unskilled at it), which is perhaps what made it such a big hit with me. And I think I have already mentioned the laughter.

So while that was fun and all, how come it makes it to my cancer blog (I mean apart from laughter is the best medicine, and if you have a body, why not move it around, we don't get to keep it forever)? I'll tell you what. Having cancer, for me, was also a form of lifestyle tourism (no I am not comparing my first date to chemotherapy - besides the former was decidedly more fun, and trust me, nobody yearns to go to a second round of chemotherapy). I guess because I never really felt like I belonged. So I was watching. Watching the people and watching the care givers and seeing the defeated, slow, sad look in there eyes. I know everyone has their own process, but I do believe that believing you can kick it, believing that you are a tourist in a weird land and eventually plan to go home, helps that happen. It is like Dorothy in Oz with her red shoes. When we can find our own inner bearing, and be true to ourselves, then we get to go home (and home can be many different things to different people). And I guess that is not just true of cancer. So since we can't always decide which land we visit, at least find the way to enjoy being there. Which brings me back to ....



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