We left the building just a bit before eleven and were surprised, the wind had teeth. Somehow we expected that as it was spring, there would be springlike weather. This is Canada we told ourselves and decided to continue on our jaunt. After one block we had pared off a trot through Queen's Park, after a second we decided to simply get a hot dog from a street vender and then go to a pub.
It had been a long time since I had participated in the wonderful opporuntity of garnishing my own dog. For several years I've sat in the car while others, thankfully, got me what I wanted. I have never once complained and couldn't even explain - the dogs just weren't the same. So when the woman handed the steaming treat over to me, I added onions (exactly the right amount) and mustard (exactly the brand I use) two pickles (more is greedy, less is silly) and a touch, a whisper of relish. Joe was equally careful in the preparation of his and, both done, we headed to a place where we could sit and eat.
We stopped at a small park a mere two blocks from the pub. I sat in the open air, not in a car seat, and bit into my dog. My perfectly dressed dog. And it was spectacular. Really, incredibly, edibly amazing. As I ate I realized that, as I have been in my chair for over 3 years, unable to stand for about a year and a half before that, it's been nearing 5 years since I've had exactly the hot dog I've wanted.
All because my world changed. I bounce along atop my power chair and I am back doing things that I thought lost to me forever. I'm about to go on a two week lecture tour and I will be in the manual chair the whole time. That's ok. Really. It's ok because I know that I can live my life with just exactly the amount of relish that I want to ... at home where it matters.
I had all this planned without telling Joe. He loves to go for walks, he loves to sit in a park with a veggie dog, he loves to stop by the pub. I think, maybe, he thought these things were slipping from his present because they'd become part of my past. But now we were out doing all of them again. He's never complained, but I'd planned this little outing to let him know that there's life in the old boy yet.
And, you'll never guess what happened. The pub we went to, the only one on the strip that has a ramped entrance, has changed. There at the back they've built an accessible bathroom to replace the one down the ricketty set of stairs. A walk in the park, a frank with two pickles and a place to pee!