On episode 50 of Question of the Day, Stephen and James debate the definition of maturity. Stephen posits that maturity is being in a situation and handling it with poise. That is a pretty tough standard.
I am frequently stuck waiting in line in grocery stores, and while I generally might appear to be handling the situation with poise, I typically compose passive aggressive tweets.
But, you know, to all outward appearances, I am chill.
I can’t remember, did I ever tell you about the time my kid had cancer? Maybe? Okay, well, when my kid had cancer and I would take him to pick up his chemotherapy, we would encounter a LOT of immature people. Let me paint a picture for you: there were specific medications my son needed to take in order to stay alive that I could only get from very specific branches of very specific pharmacies. My son was not able to care for himself, so I had to take him with me when I went to those pharmacies. This meant that I would put a fresh stoma bag on him, slowly take him to the car, load him into the car, fold up his wheelchair and stick it in the car, get in the car, and drive to the pharmacy.
I would find parking eventually, remove the wheelchair from the car, slowly help Adi out of the car, get Adi into the wheelchair, go to the wheelchair entrance, take an elevator to the pharmacy floor, go all the way down the hallway to the pharmacy, and encounter the line of approximately 972 people, many of whom were coughing and hacking. I would park Adi as far away from the hackers as I could, check to make sure there were no stoma bag emergencies, and then approach a pharmacist.
“My son is neutropenic and I need to pick up his chemotherapy. Can you help me?” I would say politely, and the pharmacist would usually say, “Yes, of course,” or sometimes look where I gestured, see Adi and his bald head and his slumped frame, and wave me in.
And then all hell would break loose.
“THERE IS A LINE, LADY” someone would yell, and I would ignore that person while taking my many prescriptions out. “HEY, LADY! THERE’S A LINE! YOU CAN’T DO THAT!” someone else would shriek, and I would smile at the pharmacist and hand her my health fund card. She would start pulling our medications, and I would take a moment to go over to Adi and make sure he was okay.
“My son has cancer,” I would sometimes say quietly to the person shrieking at me. “He can’t be here around all these people.”
“THERE IS A LIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE!” the injured party would repeat, and I would imagine myself stabbing him in the eyes.
Recently, I took Adi to a dermatologist to see about a rash on his foot. When we arrived at the office and saw the loooooong line, I knew there was no way Adi could sit and wait patiently until it was our turn. I went to the secretary and showed her Adi’s disability card, which clearly says that he does not have to wait in line. “No problem,” said the secretary. “I’ll let the doctor know, and you’ll be next.” I thanked her, and Adi I went to sit in the crowded waiting room.
A few minutes later, our number was called, and we stood up. All of the other 67 people in the waiting room immediately leapt up, loudly protesting the grave injustice being done to them. One or two of them followed us into the doctor’s office to loudly protest that this was NOT OKAY, and the doctor told them, “Tough. This is a child with special needs.” The protesters looked at Adi and said, “HE IS NOT A CHILD WITH SPECIAL NEEDS,” and I just want to say, to my credit, that I was EXTREMELY MATURE as I slammed the door shut and did not actually begin screaming.
So, I guess that my definition of maturity is someone who is not an ass.