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my friends all think i'm crazy...

...but i had to do it.

we were in mcsorley's - the oldest bar in new york - and there was a table of men next to us.  a few were graying, the others were probably in their 30s.  one of the younger ones in particular caught my eye, just because he was rather good-looking and muscular, and we made eye contact a few times.  i wasn't drinking any alcohol since they only have beer there, and i am not a beer person.  i just sat, sipping my water and chatting with my friends.

all of a sudden, i looked over at the table of guys, and i saw something very familiar on the table in front of the guy i had been eying.  it was a black, zippered case.  then, i watched in awe as he unzipped the case, pulled out an all too familiar bright orange syringe, and stick it in his giant bulging arm.  i almost fell out of my chair.

"dude!" i half-whispered as i hit my friend impatiently, "look what that guy has!" not clear enough. "DUDE THAT GUY IS F-ING DIABETIC" (i swear a lot when i'm excited).

but as soon as the needle was out of his arm, everyone at his table got up and started to leave.  as they lingered for a moment, i was having a major debate inside myself and out loud. 

"oh man...i really want to go over to him..." i said, expecting at least one of my friends to support my urge.  however, none of them seemed to want to condone such bold behavior.  i realized in those quick decision-making moments that this was not something anyone was going to understand but me and my new-found comrade.  until you've had something like diabetes, you cannot understand how absolutely necessary it is to commiserate with people that understand what you're dealing with.

so, i went for it.  with my own little black case in hand, i approached this man as my friends watched on laughing at what they saw as my chutzpah.  as soon as he realized why i was there, he lit up.  he told me how he has been a diabetic for 20 years and how he chooses to stay on injections because he doesn't want something on him all the time that shows people that he has diabetes (hmm...this sounds familiar).  when i told him i've had it for six months, his immediate response was "it's easy!"  which i loved.  whether or not any of us really believe that, his optimism in the face of 20 years with diabetes and doing old-fashioned drawn-up injections all along is really quite inspiring.

we only chatted for a few minutes as his group was already on their way out, and we never even exchanged names, but the whole experience made me so happy.  it was a refreshing reminder that diabetes does not preclude me from a normal life.  while i might logically know this, it is easy to forget sometimes when i'm in a group of non-diabetics, and i feel very different.  until this guy took out his case, he looked like a regular guy just getting a beer with his buddies.  he made me realize that diabetes or not, i am still me, as normal or regular as i was before.

also, his nonchalance about injecting and what not at the table made me think about when i get nervous about checking my sugar or shooting up in public.  maybe this isn't the best route...for all i know, i could be forming a new friendship just by pricking my finger above the table instead of under it. 

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