A Puncture When You Least Expect It

18 Apr

Yesterday I had a puncture – well, Pam did. Or the car she was driving. Funny how in the times of sexual equality, some jobs remain in the male domain. But that’s another story. I went to get the tyre fixed.

I’ve been going to the same puncture repair place for years. Although, fortunately, not too often. It’s a family business in which the founding father  could be either side of eighty. God knows whether he knows me or not but I did innocently say to him that he wasn’t there last time I came in. I had a treatment he tells me – chemo for cancer. Like me, I empathized – but he was off. I wasn’t sure that he was in “reception” mode – he seemed to be into his monologue. But I did manage to squeeze in that I was being treated for pancreatic cancer. “They didn’t want to operate on me so I went  privately”, he was proud to say – “I was operated on by Prof. So-and-so. Number one in the world”. Israelis are to medicine a bit like Americans are to baseball. It starts with the World Series – and goes upwards from there. “He took my pancreas out and my colon and this and that,” he added. I wanted to question him on the removal of the pancreas but he continued with “cost me 120 grand (shekel)” he tells me. Apparently his proudest moment. Can you survive without a pancreas? That was news to me.

What did I expect from an octogenarian? He was lucid indeed. I wanted to tell him how awesome it would be to reach his age. But I was reflecting – he was reciting. I then realized that I haven’t actually had a “social” conversation about cancer for a long time. Certainly not with my contemporaries – not that I would wish cancer on anyone. I realized that my blog does give me a medium for expression – but it’s not the same as speaking to a fellow sufferer. Just to get things in perspective. The puncture-man’s message was that you have to keep working. He gets up at the crack of dawn and does his routine, including the rounds at the bakery to buy his workers an early morning bite. “Not that I work as I used to” he tells me – but I won’t bore you.

Our conversation was coming to a conclusion. We went on for almost as long as it took to fix the puncture – somehow they convinced me on the way that the tyre was irreparable and would have to be replaced. Together with the other front tyre – just to even things up. An expensive business.

But it did give me the incentive I needed – not to return to work – but to continue my volunteering. Same place, same satisfaction. And tomorrow at another charity where I help out. Life, fortunately, is going on.. .  .   .         

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One Response to “A Puncture When You Least Expect It”

  1. Felicity April 18, 2012 at 9:53 am #

    Back in NY and awake long before dawn and it’s great to be greeted by your blog entry – the puncture story – is an example of how you look for and find inspiration all over the place and in almost every encounter, and then you frame it for all of us to view and take it in. Thanks for your amazing hospitality and warmth. xxxx Felicity

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