Sunday, March 20, 2011

COURAGE & ENTERTAINMENT

Today I made it 9.6 miles to meet my daughter for lunch.  This may not seem like much of a deal and it wouldn't be if I were on my home turf but we're in a congested area in another state and Bill has been doing all the driving.    
One googlemap later, printed in very large font with a map on the reverse, and I was off.  No problems at all, unless you count that one tiny little turn into a cul de sac at what I thought was the SECOND light after exit 32B.      
                                                                                                                                             What is it about being mobility challenged that seeps over into the rest of your life? I can drive. I can definitely drive this rental car because I used to own one of them. I can read maps. I have a Garmin that talks to me. I have a nifty little bungee-cord device that helps my foot-drop and makes it easy to control that foot on the accelerator.  
                                                                                                                                             It's hard for me to admit even to myself that I sometimes avoid new places simply because I don't know how it will go when I get there. Where will I park?  How far will that be to walk? How many sets of eyes will watch my halting, teetering progress across the parking lot and entrance?                                                                                                                                                                             These are the things I think about.  I never think about the things that actually happen.  For example, the last time I had lunch with my daughter I dropped my sister's color chart down a drain in front of the restaurant and had to get down on my hands and knees, backside to the maitre d' and dining guests and fish around in the gutter.                                                                                                                        
Did I have on a short blouse that hiked up, revealing several inches of not-so-slim skin above my waistband?  Of course I did.  You would think I would have worried about that ahead of time!                                                                                                        
As you could have predicted: I did find the color chart; I did make it with a nod and grim smile past the straight-faced maitre d';   I most definitely did wash off the chart in its plastic sheath in the ladies room; and finally, I did have a great time at lunch that day, despite Fr's snorts of levity at the tale of how I had entertained the staff and patrons at the restaurant before she got there.                                                            
Then there was the time the airline baggage handlers incorrectly reinstalled the shaft for the seat on my mobility scooter, leaving it just a little too high and tippy. I kept thinking something was odd but couldn't quite get at it, until absolute clarity came to me at the exact moment my scooter and I toppled over sideways, skidding down a grassy embankment at a outdoor arts festival in Tucson.                                                                                                                                                              
The lawn was infused with dried grass clippings which flew to my clothes and attached themselves with dedication. Many stranger's hands trying to help me brush off was not quite what I had in mind for art and entertainment that day but, furry with desiccated vegetation, entertain I did!                                                                                                                                    
And hey, nothing like that happened today; I just had a good time with my daughter, both of us looking rather spiffy in a very nice establishment. It was worth the brief and useless angst I had earlier subdued.

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