Monday, April 11, 2011

Did I Say You Could Touch My Patch?


My name is Cathy and I'm a nice-aholic. I blame it on the Canadian curse of pathological politeness. Our country's idea of battle is to engage in a sound but vigorous debate over treaties.  Assertiveness:  to state your case in a direct but non-confrontational manner. If done correctly, no one feels attacked and both parties walk away satisfied. In theory. I can be hopelessly unassertive and at other times, if I'm really pissed off, I will attack and become aggressive. There has to be a balance somewhere in the middle, right? Clearly, I haven't found it yet.

I went shopping the other day. I needed to replace several items after tossing out a bag of clothes in disgust because they no longer fit. Earlier on the same day, I replaced my pain skin patch but made the mistake of applying body lotion prior to application. Of course, it didn't adhere properly. My husband did a quick repair job, affixed the patch to my skin with plastic tape and off we went to the shops.

Browsing around a store, I stopped to try on a jean jacket. I didn't bother with a dressing room, opting instead to remove my cardigan, slip on the jacket and search for a mirror. A fellow shopper nearby nodded and smiled approvingly. 'It looks good on you.' she said. 'Yeah, but I can't button it up,' I replied, referring to my bust line. The woman cheekily added, 'It will give you incentive, then.' Excuse me, did she just take a shot at my weight? Holy Hose Bags, I think she did!  Being the nice person that I am, I ignored her asinine comment. I continued to try on jackets as she stood close to me offering her take on each item. Then she spotted the patch on my arm. It had started to unstick and hung from my upper arm. She strode a few steps closer, put her hand firmly on my patch and pressed, smearing it around for extra holding power. I know I should have told her off as she brazenly violated my personal space. I think I was too stunned to respond. She proceeded to tell me about her smoking days and how nicotine patches had helped her to kick the habit. 'Oh, this isn't a nicotine patch,' I said. Again, crossing personal boundaries she asked me what it was for. Stupidly, I told her.

That was my first mistake. She seized the opportunity to expound on her medical beliefs regarding acupuncture, homeopathic medicine and allopathy. Allopathy? What's allopathy? Whatever it is, she was dead set against it. I smiled weakly, picked up my purse and started to back away. She advanced on me further. Unbelievably, she explained how acupuncture had given her the most bizarre bowel movements. Way, way too much information. Lady,  your caca confessions are not the only thing bizarre about you. I murmured an excuse while I continued to back away, interspersing with 'mmmhmmm,' or 'uh-huh.' This loon wasn't getting the hint. Why does my assertiveness wimp out when under fire? Because it just isn't in my nature to be assertive. It was something I had to learn in a seminar. I had to PAY money for it.

I saw my husband approaching and told Disturbia that I was leaving. I turned my back on her and walked away.  I looked back and she was still hollering at me, encouraging me to buy a book that had changed her life. Yeh, I'll get right on that.

This is an example of the same kind of over-familiarity that compels strangers to pat a pregnant women's belly and regale her with horror stories of week-long labours and torn vaginal tissue. What are these people thinking? Are they capable of thinking? I should have spoken up when Crazy Daisy barged into my comfort zone and touched me like a member of her family rather than a complete stranger. I don't know where her hands have been and I certainly didn't want them touching a medicinal skin patch.

Another assertiveness opportunity gone down the sewer. Why am I so nice, dammit? I'm thinking I should get a refund on those classes... but I'm too intimidated to ask.


  1. Ok, your last tidbit made me laugh, but the rest ticked me off for you! Damn woman! I wish I understood folks like this and sadly, there are sooooo many out there. It's a tough situation, but just be glad you aren't related to her!

  2. LOL. I'm glad I'm not related to her too. I felt as if I already knew her intimately after 5 minutes! Darn loony birds!

  3. There are so many sad, lonely people out there who will "glom onto" anyone willing to let them. Touching a medical patch is appalling - as you said, who knows what germs she may have transferred that could go right into your bloodstream. This broad was a whack job ... I hope you don't meet her at the mall next time you go.

  4. I hope I don't run into her again or I'll be running the other way ... as fast as my little fibro legs will let me!

  5. Even my family wouldn't touch me like that! (I'm a little behind in my reading, as you can tell!)