Had some little happy moments this past week. They were simple things, insignificant instances which brought a smile to my face. They weren’t headline grabbing, fame-generating, hold-the-news type things. They meant very little in the great scheme of life, the universe and everything but somehow, for me, they added a little je ne sais quoi to my week.

On Tuesday I drove to the local hospital for my monthly blood test. I always get a park in the bay closest to the door I have to go in. Each time I’ve gone, there has always been a spot left just for me. Not this time. I circled, circled, went to the next parking area, circled, circled… Eventually I had to park in the street, quite a way down from the hospital (sorry, ‘health centre’). As I propelled myself up the street, with the aid of my lolly-pink walking stick, I heard someone call my name. A young lady ran down the embankment and greeted me with a big hug. She walked up to the hospital/centre with me. How are you? I said.

She didn’t conform to convention; she actually told me how she was. We had a long chat – well, she chatted and I mostly listened – and she filled me in on the things that were getting her down. At the end I gave her another big hug and told her not to be too hard on herself. The fact that she’s out of bed and dressed, and seeing someone about her situation is a major achievement. Why did this make me smile? I was feeling put-out with the powers that be for not providing me my usual parking spot, but if I’d parked there I’d have missed seeing this girl. Her mother died recently and I’m honoured to be a motherly listening ear for her. Powers that be: 1; me: 0.

I toddled in to have my blood syphoned and the regular lady wasn’t there. Instead I was greeted by a charming fellow, who was all bounce and smiles like Tigger. He strapped on the tourniquet and then said, And now for the alcohol. When he swabbed my arm I said, Darn! I was hoping for a glass! That broke the ice and we had a lovely chat. Just a little moment, but I walked out smiling.

Went to the oncologist at the end of the week for the monthly check, chat and jab. Sat in the chemo room waiting my turn and checked out the others. Only one of them looked like an actual cancer patient: turban perched on a bald head, unhealthy pallor on her cheeks. The others were like me: they looked normal. I’d recently begun to feel a bit of a fraud; I look too well to have cancer. I watched the women, with the drip stuck in their hands, chatting to their partners about garden furniture, the kids, doing the shopping on the way home…just normal homely things and I felt proud to be a member of this strong, heroic sorority. On facebook and elsewhere I see and hear lots of whining, complaining, sooking going on about piddly little things, and here are these women facing life and death stuff and handling it with joy, courage and the sheer ordinariness of daily life. Yes! I thought. Why give this stupid disease the time of day! So I had my jab in the stomach and talked recipes with the nurses while it was going on. The Old Boy took me for lunch afterwards. I had crumbed snapper and enjoyed every bit of it. On the way home my stomach complained but I told it to suck it up and be grateful for the experience.

As I said, these weren’t moments to be seared on my memory forever, but they made me smile. I’m glad to be alive. What’s more, I got some excellent material that I can use in my writing. Life’s good.