They don’t directly ask you for your sign-up details.
Do you know anyone who has diabetes? she says.
(Well, I know – one, two, three, four . . . but I don’t say that. I can’t add up that quickly. I know there’s someone else, but I can’t think.)
I say yes.
She threatens (to my mind) to turn it into a ‘who knows what’.
Is it type 1 or type 2? she asks.
Which, of the people I know, will I answer for?
Type 2, I say.
I can tell that she’d been hoping I wouldn’t know, and then she could explain it to me.
She manipulates in order to get the authoritarian upper hand.
I don’t like this. I know what she is doing.
I tell her that someone I know (and this is true) has cured his diabetes by diet, but he isn’t allowed to say so.
He’s in remission, she says.
(Well, the way I heard it he is cured but not allowed to say so.)
I don’t say that. I can’t stand these smart-arsed answers.
I walk away, slowly. (My shopping is heavy.)
I can feel her surprise boring into my back, but I don’t look that way where she is.
If she wants to play guilt-mission, she can play it on her own.
When I do go back that way, shopping completed, and on my way home, she pretends she hasn’t seen me, turns to talk to her compatriots – they stand surrounding a shopping-centre island (especially constructed for this purpose, but it is someone different there every week).
Do you do cancer? I was going to say.
I avoid, altogether, the magazine-seller on the next corner.
I have been doing that for months now.
He knows I am there, avoiding him.
He watches me approach – and swerve away to go along another bus station passage so that I don’t have to walk past him where he is stationed – every single day, at the doors to the main thoroughfare.
Marketing gets more aggressive.
And where is my Amazon parcel? Lost in the post.