Beneath the good and the kind and the stupid and the cruel
There’s a fire that’s just waiting for fuel
— the prophet ani
He’s old, even by my standards. Maybe starting his ninth decade. He’s got that Scottsdale-rich thing going; sockless with shoes made from some unfortunate reptile. Impeccably groomed, khaki shorts and an Oxford shirt. He’s got his, and he doesn’t seem too interested in other people getting theirs.
I’m hanging out in the waiting room of the chemo center. If you’ve never spent a morning at a chemo center, it’s not as much fun as it sounds. The people there are generally in a bad way, a black cloud hanging over the room. You give each other sad little smiles and a nod and that’s pretty much it. There’s no talking. Except for this guy.
“THEY’RE TRYING TO STEAL THE ELECTION!!!” he exclaims, his words echoing across the room. He’s here with his wife, a poor woman who I desperately hope is hard of hearing. She’s small, impossibly thin and frail with a scarf wrapped around her head. She doesn’t talk.
“THEY’VE COUNTED MORE VOTES IN PENNSYLVANIA THAN THERE ARE REGISTERED VOTERS!!!” he exclaims. She doesn’t appear to be listening. I assume this is how couples manage to stay married this long.
It’s funny. I’m antisocial by nature, and even more so now that the vermin has caused our collective isolation. So this is the first time I’ve come across someone who is not on TV in a full rant.
I want to quiz him on how exactly he has come across this information. Twitter? Hannity? The guy at the barber shop? How do people who seem to be fairly well educated become attached to conspiracy theories? How can you be this detached from reality? What IS the difference between a crocodile and an alligator again, and how many shoes can be produced from one?
I’m in the chair closest to him, and with his wife clearly focused on staying alive rather than a political agenda, I fear he will seek me out as a co-conspirator. I’m only here for an infusion of rocket fuel, so I’m a little guilty amid the people who are in serious trouble. But not guilty enough to put up with him.
But then, a nurse comes out and calls his wife’s name. She wills herself out of her chair and walks carefully down the hall, leaving him behind. He paces around, still enraged. I marvel at his priorities.
I would think a chemo clinic would be the place to line up your life’s priorities. Wife first, ice cream second, made-up conspiracy theories way down the list. But I suppose alligator shoes do things to you.
Another nurse comes out and calls my name. As I walk away, he’s still pacing. “Criminals,” he mutters. A fire just waiting for fuel.
I hope his wife is OK. I hope in his next life he’s a small animal living in a swamp full of alligators.
The eagle on the running loop is back. A sign for sure.