Free Dinners

As L has pointed out, we're getting three free dinners out of this so far. Our second one was last night with our neighbor Z. He and his wife are what the French call "les voisins de palier," meaning neighbors on the same floor. I suppose there were more apartment buildings earlier on in France than, say, England, and thus the phrase was invented. I don't know if there are equivalents in other languages. If someone is expert in the language of multi-family dwellings around the world, please speak up. We ate at the Neighborhood Veggie Place Where Not Enough is Organic. I like it anyway. We got to talking about nipples. I said mine had to be removed in the mastectomy, because there might be disease in it. L said it was preserved, that he was paying attention to that part of the surgeon's talk. What does he think, it can be moved around like a maraschino cherry on a sundae? I believed him, though, until I looked up surgery in the pink handbook that Fancy Hospital gave me. It's the size of the original Our Bodies, Our Selves, and I pasted a medusa over the pink rose on the cover. I've also added some words so it now reads "The Breast Cancer Bitch Handbook." I've also pasted on it a Certificate of Entitlement from some junk mail credit-card application . Anyway, we were also talking about donating bone marrow, for some reason. Z has plans to see next month if he's a match for someone who needs a donor. L said he had been planning to donate marrow or plasma to a woman in his office, but... she died. Oh, I said, pretty sure I knew who he was talking about, of breast cancer? Yes. For some reason I started laughing. Then I told Z how my friend P has offered to loan me books, one of which is The Cancer Journals by Audre Lorde, who died of breast cancer. I don't want books by people who died of it (though of course they died of cancers that spread from the breast, not breast cancer itself). I thought that was very funny.

Is this denial?

I was also telling P the other day at how I was inwardly scoffing about someone who recommended Pretty Good Hospital, because she'd gotten a biopsy there. A biopsy? That's bupkes. I said it's the way Holocaust survivors have a hierarchy. The ones who survived Auschwitz look down on the ones who were *only* in concentration (not extermination) camps, and the people who were in the latter look down on the ones who were *only* in labor camps, and those people look down on the ones who spent the war in hiding. So the friend who had the biopsy, I said, it was like she was hiding in a barn the whole time. A nice barn, out of the way of soldiers and hostile peasants.

And the ones who died? P asked. Where would they fit in?

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