Monday, November 04, 2019

Living life more meaningfully

I mean, people have actually said to me, "Wow, I guess having cancer so young must have given you a whole new perspective on life?" And I always nod and try to look inscrutable, but in fact, if I am completely honest with myself, I have the same old skewed perspective I've always had, except now I get to feel guilty about it. Likewise with living life more meaningfully. What the fuck does that mean anyway? How do you actually do it, in reality, besides taking up yoga?
The Bus on Thursday, by Shirley Barrett, is laugh-out-loud funny, kind of dumb and possibly offensive.

Eleanor is diagnosed with breast cancer, has a mastectomy, undergoes reconstructive surgery (but not the nipple yet). When she finally feels ready to get back to work (although it's more about avoiding support groups), she take a job as a teacher in some remote village, where the previous teacher — beloved by all (that is, Eleanor hasn't got a hope in hell of stepping into her shoes satisfactorily) — had suddenly and mysteriously disappeared. Weirdly, no one's really bothered enough by the event to have gone looking for her.

Meanwhile, her BFF gets married and pregnant and is generally insensitive to her situation, particularly as far as dating goes. And her ex-boyfriend — they broke up because he definitely didn't want kids, and isn't it ironic that now Eleanor possibly won't be able to have kids anyway — has been dating some busty girl who is now very pregnant.

And work is just horrible. It's a one-classroom situation and she can't live up to her predecessor, she's always saying the wrong thing, and really, some of the kids, the people in this town are just shitty.

She starts "dating" the guardian, the older brother, of her problem student. A body turns up. Townspeople continue to be incompetent. Everything seems... inappropriate.

A large number of people seem to think the cancer is her own fault, to the point where she starts thinking, "Am I so despicable a person that even my own body can't stand me?"

It's a comedy horror story, which is often the way with life with cancer — it can be a real mindfuck. And then the story gets weird.

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