At tea the other day Belinda presented us with a home made apple pie - sugar free. Belinda knows I can't eat sugar and though she had to make my pie differently than all the other pies she made she did it. For me.
And what's weird is, she never called me hard to serve, she just called me her friend.
We all went to lunch together to celebrate the holidays but also to celebrate what we'd acheived together as a team. The Vita "Intimacy and Relationship" team had accomplished much in a short period of time. Rosalie called ahead to make sure that the restaurant had vegetarian options. I haven't eaten meat in years so I needed a menu that had options that only I would choose from.
And what's weird is, they never called me hard to serve, they just called me a colleague.
For my birthday last week we stayed at a hotel in Toronto and had dinner with friends. The hotel room was fitted out with bars around the toilet and in the shower. The room was laid out in such a way that there was lots of room for my wheelchair. All the things I needed, things that other travellers never think of were there.
And what's weird is, they never called me hard to serve, they just called me a customer.
When I visit my brother, Larry, he always makes sure that there is a huge supply of green tea available. Though he and his wife like coffee - all sorts of coffee - I've never come to like the stuff. The aroma of coffee is wonderful and goes really well with my green tea. Even though they have to pick up something specially for me they don't seem to mind.
And what's weird is, they never called me hard to serve, they just called me family.
But I adapt too - when we have friends for dinner, one doesn't like blue cheese, one doesn't like mushrooms, one likes her food bland, another likes it spicy hot. And Joe and I pour through cookbooks to find a meal that will suit everyone. Sometimes we cook the base and then get pots out and spice three pots differently.
And what's weird is, we don't call them hard to serve - we call them other names - but that's never been one of them.
How come we get to be different, have our differences tolerated?
How come we expect our uniquenesses to be accepted and accommodated?
How come we have a sense of our 'right' to individuality?
How come when someone with a disability expects accomodation - for individual needs and individual preferences - suddenly they are seen as exceptional? difficult? problematic?
I admire the 'hard to serve' cause they've managed to withstand programmes and practices to maintain a sense of self, a modicum of independance and a wack of individuality. What a spirit that must take.
(idea for post comes from one of the rare conversations with Lina that didn't involve shoes)