Anyone who knows me knows I’m rule bound. Some may even call me “rigid”, I can’t imagine why. Growing up, I always finished my homework and never skipped classes. I can’t even bring myself to skip continuing education classes. I don’t park illegally and always put money in the parking meter. I don’t cheat at board games or crosswords (although I do ask my mom about any opera clues). I show up on time for appointments and reservations, although I uncharacteristically stood up my dentist once. (Total Freudian slip: I really didn’t like him much.) Rather than cutting in front of people in line, I too often let others go first. I pay my taxes on time and probably underreport my expenses. And I speak up if I receive too much change.
I’m tortured when I realize I’ve broken a rule unwittingly. In fact, I get anxious even thinking about cheating.
But I’m far from perfect, and there are many exceptions: I am prone to jaywalking and sometimes I keep my library books an extra day, throwing them down the return chute before the library opens so I won’t receive an overdue charge. I’ve probably eaten out of the occasional bulk bin usually just to ensure they meant it when they wrote “unsalted”, and I recall stealing a chocolate bar from a store as a young child. Trust me, I never did it again. If there are rules, spoken or unspoken, I generally follow them.
April is Daffodil Month, Canadian Cancer Society’s major fundraising venture. Early in the month, J. and I bought plastic daffodils for our lapels. That plastic flower has had a different meaning for me now that I am in the Cancer Club. I feel I’ve earned it and I wear it proudly. I even move it from one coat to another depending on what I’m wearing.
What does this have to do with rule breaking? It’s now May 5 and I haven’t yet taken the plastic flower off. It’s not because I still need my coat–yes, it has been snowing steadily since May 1–but because I still have cancer. I know I’m pushing the limits on this one. I’m not the kind of person to draw attention to myself, but if I don’t remove the flower soon, people may wonder why I’m still wearing it. That’s not really what I want. I’m just oddly attached to the silly yellow plastic thing. It symbolizes my struggle.
Maybe I’m more of a rebel than I’ve given myself credit for. Soon you may catch me sneaking into movies without paying or riding the C-train without a ticket. The possibilities are endless, and I have more than a few overly compliant years to make up for.
J. is still wearing hers too. And she’s earned it by virtue of her membership in the CCBA (that’s Cancer Club By Association, for those of you who don’t know), a club she certainly never chose to be in. That and she’s always been more of a rebel than me.