A half block away from where we now live is a fairly large indoor mall. We access it by going down a long and fairly steep driveway into an underground parking garage and then take the elevator up. My heart is in my throat as we descend the steep slope, I know that if Joe lets go or I lose my grip I'd be in serious trouble. I think that fear is why we both laugh so much on the way down.
Yesterday we went over to the mall to catch a movie and do some grocery shopping. To do all this without getting in a car is wonderful. The grocery store is completely accessible until it comes to paying. The little laneways are too narrow for me to get through at the till. So I left Joe to pay and rolled along the corridor heading towards the liqour store where we needed to pick up some beer.
I stopped just outside the store and waited for Joe to catch up. While waiting a guy of about my age, with cerebral palsy, passed by on his electric scooter. He drove into the bookstore, thought better of it, and came back out and continued on his way. As he came by me I really noticed his legs. He was wearing short pants, which made sense on a hot summer day, and his legs were wounded - both of them - from knee to ankle.
There was no time to count but I'd guess each leg had at least thirty fresh wounds. All of them looking like bumps and scrapes. He wasn't the best driver, that I could see by the way he haphazardly made his way along the corridor, first zigging then zagging finally zogging. There was a jagged sort of rhythm to his driving. Each one of those injuries stood testifying to a life lived on the edge - each told a story. Years ago men like him didn't have legs that told stories.
There must have been the real sense of adventure in every foot of his journey. All along the mall corridor there were things to bump into, things to knock over, feet to squash. It was like an obstacle course for him. Yet he calmly and placidly just continued on. I respected him, admired him even.
Yet in minutes he had turned into another store and was out of view. I waited to hear a crash because he'd gone into a kitchen store that was full of china. I smiled as I imagined a horrified clerk not really knowing what to do as this crooked man made his crooked way down very uncrooked aisles past towers of china tea pots and fragile plates.
But there was no crash. No catastrophe. A few minutes later he emerged from the store with kind of a wicked grin on his face.
Kind of like the one I feel on my face when we are halfway down the steep ramp and I feel Joe's grip slip a bit.
What's life without a bit of risk?