My wife and I have a pretty good group of friends who for years we’ve met up with at our local microbrewery, which is a short walk from our house. We gather every few weeks or as often as possible to sit around and talk, enjoy a beer or two, play cards, and other good friends good times social activities that, if you want to imagine it, probably looks kind of like a beer advertisement — cue the music — although most of us (not all) are a little less pretty than those people in the ads on TV.
Last evening was a beer-release party at the brewery. Every few months they come out with an old favorite or a seasonal brew or new concoction, and to celebrate, the owners have a gathering of mug clubbers — people who invested in the brewery before it opened and those who’ve since purchased a mug-club membership — to sample the beer and snack on pizza and pretzels and learn about how the particular beer-in-mug was made.
It’s been a busy summer, though. Not for me so much as for everyone else. Friends are having babies. Friends are traveling. Friends’ jobs are hectic. So it’s been at least two months since I’ve seen some of the people I sat around the table with last night, all good, caring people who, back when I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, wanted to know all about my condition and what it meant. I was never at a loss for a diabetes-related topic to talk about (in hindsight, I apologize to people I overtalked to about diabetes!).
Since I haven’t seen some of these friends in awhile, I expected the conversation to at some point turn to my health. I don’t turn it; they do. At least, often enough, someone does. And because people know I’m not afraid to talk about my diabetes, or the thyroid cancer, it’s no biggie at all to sway a conversation that way, to make an Eric has diabetes joke, because they’ve all heard me joke about it. I mean, we’ve all joked about our illness(es), right? You gotta; it’s one of our best coping mechanisms. I’ve never, ever, found offensive any good-natured crack about my diabetes when I’m among friends.
Anyway, many of these people no doubt heard way too much about my illnesses when I was diagnosed, first with the diabetes, and then with the cancer (I have a tendency to overshare, and in doing so, I’m not very succinct). So when we lose touch for several months, or longer, they want to know how I’m doing.
I arrived early last night and sat down with Mark, who was by himself at a table and waiting for the rest of us to trickle in. Mark and I used to work near each other, our offices close. We had lunch quite often. Then his office moved to a new location, then mine moved, and I don’t think I’ve talked with him since the spring.
Mark asked about my health, how things are going in my life with the dye-uh-beet-us (we’re both from parts of the country originally where that’s how you pronounce it, a la Wilford Brimley), and as much as I would have liked to have something interesting to talk about regarding dyeuhbeetus, I didn’t. The self-management’s going well, I feel great, numbers are great. Yet good news doesn’t take long to deliver, and it was the shortest conversation about my illness that I’ve had in a long time.