Friday, April 13, 2007

Superstitious, moi?

Despite the rational part of me trying to talk me out of it, I keep finding myself making sense of this whole thing with theories and hypotheses which are based on nothing more than gut feelings or superstitions.

I feel foolish wanting to hold on to these theories but some of them seem to make some sense, within my basic grasp of human biology. Others are downright laughable gypsy voodoo but let me hold onto them. For an atheist, they give me some semblance of control and understanding.

Theory no 1:

On Monday the Professor tells me that this tumour has probably only been in existence for six months or so.

The same day, the boy gets an email from a friend where she tells him that while it all sounds like hippy dippy nonsense, there is scientific evidence to suggest that breast cancer can often be linked to conflict with another (close) female. I laughed outright at this idea initially and then suddenly realised it made some sense.

Oestregen encourages tumours to grow and take hold. Excess oestregen makes you more likely to develop breast cancer. Maybe, in some sort of battle of the alpha females, clashing with another woman makes you produce more oestregen? I'm sure when men clash, testosterone is produced so why should it not be the same for women? If I had more time, I'd be googling it to prove my point.

But how does that relate to me? What clashes have I had? I mainly work with men, so it's nothing there. And everything in my personal life with other women is going alright... Then I realised. Six months ago I still had a lodger. A lodger who used to be a friend and basically started to take the piss, and reacted all pious and perfect when this pissed me off. It got to the stage where it was so bad I used to hang out late at the office instead of going home. To my own home, which I owned, and she sat in like the Queen of Sheba.

She had been due to move out into her own place since August and kept with-holding rent under all sorts of pretences when it was quite clear she did not want to pay me for each month upfront, when she thought she'd be leaving halfway through. It was only when we turned the halfway point in each month that she'd finally cough up. I never held a deposit from her so quite what she was afraid of I'm not sure. Maybe she thought I wouldn't return it because of unpaid bills or the scratches on the kitchen table (brand new when we moved in) that her horrible cat made. But I had assured her several times over that I would return any money owed for rent immediately when she moved out - and that we'd sort bills seperately.

But when she finally left, more than a week into December without having paid rent, she left no forwarding address and no instruction about what she was planning to do about the unpaid rent and more than £100 of unpaid bills (that she had owed me since July). I called and texted her mobile to no avail. I called her work number which said she was off until the following week. I emailed her. It bounced back. I checked with her work reception. She'd changed her email address the week before.

I was being taken for a ride. In a really sly and horrible way. In the end I emailed a legal threat to her work address and her hotmail account, and stuck hard copies in the post to her parents home address and her work postal address. It was now five days since she'd left my flat and 13 days since rent was due.

Lo and behold, where friendliness had not worked before, this succeeded in drawing her fire. "How dare you accuse me of intentionally not paying rent! I lost my phone, I did not check my email for a week" (yeah yeah, this is a girl who could not go 24 hrs without checking email when she lived with me) "and you respond with threats and accusations". She claimed to have sent the cheque to me on Sunday 10 December. It arrived, with a first class stamp on it on Friday 15th Dec. It was postmarked Wednesday 13th Dec at 5.10pm. Three hours after our little email exchange of "Threats and accusations".

I am proud to say that I did not for a moment feel any guilt. But in the preceding months I had felt horrible about how uncomfortable I had become in my own home and cowardly for not tackling the problem sooner. Once we both knew she was due to be off, despite it taking months, I would find myself bottling up my rage at the pointed petty little things she would do to score points - all because I thought it would be nice to leave on good terms and we could maybe find our way back to the friendship we once had. I then felt particularly stupid in the episode of her absconding without paying rent and trying to casually, spitefully avoid paying it altogether.

I joked with the boy about how I could maybe sue her, for giving me breast cancer, never for a moment taking it seriously.

Then I went home and thought more seriously about it, and maybe, just maybe, the situation between us was in some way responsible for this canker growing in my breast.

I won't be sueing her. Just like I won't be getting in touch with her about the few quid she owes me for bills in the final months of her stay, or the half bottle of rum and moth-eaten coats she left behind. I'm sure she realises where they are, and misses them, but like me, she probably also realises it would just be far too much pain and anger to make contact once again.

But it has taught me that next time someone makes you miserable, don't pussy foot around - just get on with getting them out of your life.

Theory no 2:

This is the slightly crackpot gypsy voodoo one.

When I was young I had a horse. A lovely horse called Domino. He was great but he tragically died underneath me at the end of a hunter trial. He turned out to have had a weak heart. It was horrible.

It was the 29th April and in a macabre way, this date is branded in my mind and it seems to come up again and again. It's not always bad, it can merely be 'significant'.

It's not just April either. It seems to be the 29th which is also significant in other months.

Yes, it's crackpot voodoo stuff but last night I realised that I had, possibly slightly foolishly, scheduled our Ugandan flights for the 29th April. And it was the 29th March I was diagnosed.

I know, I know. I'm just looking for patterns and coincidences. It's human nature and there is great stuff written about our search for coincidences in life by various psychologists. Which essentially just boils down to us seeing what we want to see.

But next time I'm planning to leave the country, I shan't book flights for the 29th of any month. You can't make me so there.

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