Monday, July 13, 2009

Join The Club

Ever heard the phrase "join the club"? Sometimes, it's when you are really tired. You IM your coworker at the next desk, "i'm so tired." So she answers "join the club." Sometimes, you haven't eaten enough. You send your friend a text saying "I'm starved!" She answers something along the lines of "me 2! join the club." Those clubs are not only voluntary, but they are short term. You go home, you get a good night's sleep (for those of you who, like me, can't remember what that's like, try it tonight. It's a good feeling...if I remember correctly.) and suddenly you are no longer a member of the tired-club. If you are hungry, it's an even easier fix. Have a yogurt, an apple, a chocolate bar- whatever you want, and you have left the ranks of the hungry-club.

Some clubs are more pleasant clubs. Like the ipod touch/iphone club. Some lady in the mall saw me playing with my touch while I waited for my father to deal with his cellphone issues, and felt compelled to strike up a conversation. "I have an iphone too!" I corrected her, told her that it's an ipod touch, but I actually like having it separate from my phone. "That way, if someone is talking to me, and I find them boring, I can play cube-runner, or Maze Finger. You can't do that if the ipod and phone are both in one device." So the two of us, total strangers, united only in our possession of touch-screen mobile devices from Apple, were suddenly deep into a conversation. We touched on the pros and cons of the iPhone versus the iPod, we discussed some of our favorite apps, and she even suggested a future career for me! (Unfortunately, no shidduch though.)

That's when I realized...purchasing one of these devices pays your entry into the club. (Albeit a steep entry fee.) It doesn't matter if you are black or white, male or female, tall or short, skinny or fat, blond or brown. All that matters is the common thread between all of you: an iObsession.

There are other clubs that people don't join willingly, and there are clubs that people don't get to resign from. Take the diabetes club. As I told a friend of mine who has diabetes, "it's not a club you sign up for. It's a club that you get drafted into." And, as far as medical science has gotten with it, there is currently no way to resign from the type-1-diabetes club.

Perhaps it is precisely because of the lengthy stay that is required in the club, or perhaps it is because of the way you get drafted, that it has such a strong club feeling. Like the other day, I was in Walmart, and the cashier had an insulin pen clipped onto the lanyard around her neck. (!) Instantly, I felt a bond with this woman. Yes, she was of a different race, and no, I couldn't pronounce her name, and I had never spoken to her before, but I felt, in a strange way like I was her sister. As she picked up the next item to scan it, and I saw her medic alert bracelet dangling from her wrist, I felt that rush again. I sat there contemplating the appropriateness of striking up a conversation about the type of insulin she uses, but just as I was gathering the courage to start, she finished ringing up my purchases, and I was ready to pay. Even as I left the store, I felt a special bond to this unknown cashier with the insulin pen.

That wasn't a solitary incident. I've seen people with insulin pumps clipped onto their belt clip, or others with a little black case that only a diabetic would recognize as one containing a glucose meter. Each time, I want to say hi, to tell them that I am also in the club. It's as if I want to stage an unofficial club meeting. I usually (ok, never) actually gather the guts to pull out my membership card, but the bond is always there.

So tonight, as I turned on the radio in the car, in an attempt to ease the three-weeks induced boredom, I heard them discussing the nominee for the supreme court: Sonya Sotomayor. In all honesty, I don't know the first thing about the woman. In general, politics don't excite me very much. But as I sat there half-listening to the commentary on her, her life, and her political career, I couldn't help but root for her. She is a fellow member of the type-1-diabetes club. No, it's not a matter of hoping she will judge in favor of diabetes treatment or research, it's simply a matter of that ever-present bond I feel with fellow clansmen.

Sonya Sotomayor did not sign up for the diabetes club, neither did I. Neither did that cashier in Walmart, neither did Nick Jonas, Jay Cutler, or any of my simple, ordinary, real-life friends who have type 1 diabetes. And by the looks of it, none of us will be giving up our slots anytime soon. And so, for now, I will just be content to know that I share a bond with all of these people.

15 comments:

Inspired said...

It is so cool you met this cashier at Walmart! Why didn't you speak up? Unfortunately, these things never happen to me, I always look out for pumps and stuff on trains etc. but never found one yet.

and nice to see that I'm not the only one obsessed with all this:-)

Staying Afloat said...

Very cool that you have this outreaching bond. I completely see how you notice this stuff.

I get this too with special needs moms, particularly of autistic kids. It's not as obvious, but I can recognize a kid with issues and I just want to give this strange woman a hug and discuss therapies.

Zeeskeit said...

I think ppl would appreciate a show of comradery - next time flash that "membership card" You never know when you can encourage someone who's down by reminding them that they aren't alone out there....

Anonymous said...

When i get that comment I sometimes make a variation to the well known saying. I say "that club has already been formed" ;-)

G6 said...

OK, I so totally lost focus as soon as you mentioned the iTouch.
I've been thinking of buying one and could use any tips/advice/suggestions/app-must-haves....

nineteen plus said...

Last week my friend told me her sister is turning twenty something and she is very anxious about not being married yet. My response: "join the club!"

CJ Srullowitz said...

Jews, lulei demistafina, don't have clubs anymore. We have shul.

anon#1 said...

What about the age club? When my brother turned 13, he complained that he didn't have a choice in the matter!

I feel the same way. Why can't I just stay young forever?

nmf #7 said...

What about those who aren't as outgoing, and wouldn't want to flash their membership card proudly?

Something Different said...

Insp- You wouldn't have..... And no, its common. Have you read the post about it on SUM?

SA- It's a very common thing with diabetes, and I believe with parents of special needs children as well. In fact, I think any club automatically give people a bond...

Zeesekeit- problem is, IRL I am not as outspoken as I am on here. I wouldn't tell a random stranger that I have diabetes...

Anon- so you aren't inviting the people in to join?? :-p

G6- the itouch is the best thing that ever happened to one. Maybe after my kallah cake lesson I will give you an ipod touch lesson. But seriously, it's great. Email me your questions.

NP- what's the something? Cuz 21 is pathetic to be worried.... Unfortunately I know a lot of girls who are as young as 20 and already panicking about their maiden status.

CJS- A shul full of diabetics? I am imagining the aufruf peklech...

Anon- Sure he does. Growing old is mandatory. Growing up is optional.

NMF- If they are very secretive about their diabetes they probably wouldn't wear their pump on their waste, nor would they check their blood sugar in front of people.

halfshared said...

I started a club for something and already have one other member but if I admit what kind of club it is, in public, I might have some tomatoes thrown at me so I'll just say it's only for people that love music a whole lot.

Jim Purdy said...

I have Type 2 diabetes. I wish I didn't have it, but it does make me focus on trying to live a more healthy lifestyle.

As far as being a member of a club, I don't think I fit in well. I experiment a lot with my diet, and I don't automatically do what doctors want. Most diabetics I know tend to never question their doctors, or even ask what their meds are for. I just can't be that way; I have to ask questions, and I want answers that make sense to me.

Something Different said...

HS- I don't understand what the problem with your club is. Excuse my ignorance.

JP- Your's is a different club. Type 2 diabetes brings along a completely different set of challenges and opportunities. And asking questions is definitely important. :-)

halfshared said...

I explained it to you already. Thank you for verifying that you weren't listening :-P.

Something Different said...

HS- I was so listening. It's not my fault that you weren't making any sense. :-P