It was a lovely morning – a lazy weekend sitting in a local café, drinking fabulous coffee, skimming through the papers and discussing the Amy Winehouse doco we’d seen the night before. The kidlet was still being spoilt by her grandparents, and Aaron and I were making the most of a leisurely breakfast.
We were at one of our favourite cafes in our area. The coffee is consistently excellent, the food is great and the owner is one of the nicest people I have ever met. Being in his café is one of my favourite things to do on the weekend. (Plus they make the most amazing home-made marshmallows. Totally bolus worthy!)
We finished up after sneaking in a second round of coffees, and meandered to the front of the store to pay.
‘They look awesome,’ the guy ahead of us was saying to the barista, pointing at the delicious-looking fudge-y, chocolate brownies on the counter.
‘Yeah; they are really great. So sweet. You get diabetes just looking at them.’
The next noise was the sound of my head spinning and my hair whipping around.
‘No you don’t,’ I said – loudly enough for them both to hear. The customer turned around and the barista looked at me. I was a little terse, but not rude.
‘I mean it. Really, they are so sweet,’ said the barista.
‘Doesn’t matter how sweet they are. You still won’t get diabetes eating them. You really shouldn’t say that. It’s not true.’ I turned to Aaron. ‘I’ll be outside. I’m done here.’
And there it is. Again. The stupid, ignorant, insensitive, offensive, throw away comments about diabetes. Comments that also happen to be untrue.
At Nova the night before, we watched the heartbreakingly sad story of Amy Winehouse in the brilliant, but harrowing, documentary Amy.
This incredibly talented young woman was hounded by the media as she dealt with addiction. And at the moment when she most needed support and help, late-night television show hosts thought it was amusing to make fun of her. They thought it was hilarious to comment on her alcoholism or weight loss or drug abuse. They thought that a vulnerable young woman who was falling apart was a great target for their cheap jokes.
And apparently, diabetes is too.
It is not funny. People who are living with health conditions are not a punch line. Diabetes is not here to use as a material for a cheap joke. The condition that I work so bloody hard to keep in check – every minute of every single day – is not a chance for you to try to be witty (which, incidentally, you are most likely not!).
All of that came flooding to my caffeine-fuelled mind as I stood there, waiting to pay the other morning. ‘Am I overreacting?’ I asked Aaron when he walked out of the cafe. ‘No. Not at all.’
People who are dealing with health issues – no matter what they are – need support. We need people to try to understand what we are doing. We occasionally need to be reminded that we are doing the best we can.
It’s actually quite simple. Diabetes is not a joke. Stop thinking it is.
Amy Winehouse singing The Girl from Ipanema is a thing of beauty. Here it is.