Yesterday I was waiting for an elevator at the mall (because riding an elevator in a mall is an exciting activity if you have a 3 year old companion), and a woman stopped me to say...
"I have to tell you, I love your haircut! I wouldn't do it myself, but I think it's really great."
I was shocked for a minute, then confused. Did she secretly KNOW that I would never have chosen this hairstyle, that this hairstyle isn't really a style at all, just what a person's hair would look like 2 months after she was bald? A closer look at her stylish apparel and long flowing mane didn't seem to present someone who was spending a lot of time thinking about things other than style, though. How could she? I would have been emotionally AND physically exhausted if I had to shop for that stylish outfit, and spending that much time on my hair, ever, would never have been possible for me. I would have thrown the curling/straightening iron out the window in an impatient rage. (I know, it's possible she has conquered domains foreign to me AND spends time searching out strangers who have recently battled diseases to compliment them.)
Normally in this situation, I would have opened my mouth and told her all about my cancer, even down to the size of the lump, the bilateral mastectomy, the kind of chemotherapy, etc. (Not only am I unable to keep my mouth shut, I like to take every opportunity to educate, even if it is inappropriate. Well, it is probably the inability to keep my mouth shut...I only rationalize it with the education piece.) I think I have learned some restraint, though, because I just smiled and said, "Thank you so much!"