Tuesday, May 02, 2006


So, I am sneaking away from a conference luncheon right now to make this post. I was so overtaken by the need to post immediately, I actually thought for the first time that I might be able to make use of a blackberry (for those who know me, this is a radical thought and it demonstrates my rising need to keep up my blog).

In any case, I was sitting at the lunch table surrounded by folks who live and work with HIV/AIDS. Before us all sat a plate of salad greens. While seated I thought how nice it was to see something other than iceberg lettuce at a conference paid for by the state of Ohio. The two folks seated to my right were in a different place with their greens. One of them was poking his plate with his fork, turning the lettuce over and shoving it around, asking his neighbor just what kind of lettuce it might be. His friend suggested perhaps "arugula." They tossed that idea around for a minute then turned to me and said, "You look healthy. Is it arugula?"

OK. This is a compliment I guess...to be told I look healthy enough to be able to identify exotic varieties of lettuce by sight. Now, I do like arugula, but I don't know exactly what it looks like either, and I am pretty sure what we had on our plate was a blend of spinach greens and red leaf lettuce.

In any case, proper identification of the type of lettuce on my plate can not be credited with the force that drug me out of my seat and directly to the nearest computer. Rather, I was struck by the assessments we make of each other while sharing space. Here we are in the midst of AIDS Awareness Week and the vibe I am unknowlingly emitting is of a person who is healthy. 'Healthy" is a loaded word when used in a room full of over one hundred HIV+ people. It is the context that stikes me.

What makes me look like a healthy person in this context speaks volumes more than it would were I not immersed in conversations about infectious disease and protease inhibitors and antiretrovirals. Somehow that small comment launched me outside my body and into the body of those who are not just talking infectious disease, but rather living that existence. It felt profound

and I felt lame for sitting there moments before contemplating the piece of pecan pie that sat next to the salad, knowing I would probably give in and eat it even though I am trying to make "healthier" choices. Once again, EVERYTHING is relative.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Even more profound is that, when it comes to holistic health (mind, body AND spirit), I've met more healthier HIV+ people.