I've written, many times before, about my ability to use a moving sidewalk in a creative manner. As they all have signs that indicated that wheelchairs and carts are not allowed on the moving sidewalk, for a long time I dutifully went long side. Pushing myself, or being helped in pushing myself, I would look over at those riding the moving sidewalks - the same people who often think me lazy. Mostly I see the face of travel - frantic to get to a gate, bored with the hours of waiting, sadness at leaving love behind, joy at travelling towards a destination - but sometimes I get the other faces. Smug that they can ride and that I can't. It seems if the world presents a hierarchy, people will climb on it, especially as they, as hierarchy always allows get to look from the pinnacle of 'I can ride on a moving sidewalk' down on, 'You can't ride on a moving sidewalk.' This mostly just amuses me. It must be a small life and a smaller mind that sees a hierarchy that small as meaningful. But, as I do, I digress.
A long while back I realized that I could hold on to the handrail, which moves at the same speed as the sidewalk, remarkably almost as if that was planned, and hold my body straight, and ride alongside. Same speed as the moving sidewalk, without any need for assistance from another person. I like this option. Even though my arm gets tired and I sometimes have to stop for a break, I make better time and I call roll alongside, rather than in front of, those who are there to help.
Heathrow has very, very, long moving sidewalks. They are constructed perfectly for this use. Some, in other airports have a wide base that make it impossible for me to get my chair close to. But Heathrow's perfect for this. So, I latched on to the handrail and off I went. Joe was not feeling well and was simply pleased to be able to use his own steam to get himself to where he was going. He didn't have a lot of extra steam yesterday, so I was glad of the ride. I was on a very long run, not having to let go at all, when a fellow cam bustling buy on the moving sidewalk. He slowed down and looked at me with a grin, then he made a joke.
I know it was a joke because he was smiling.
No, more accurately, I knew it was a joke because his eyes were smiling.
'Now that just takes all the fun out of feeling sorry for you.' He laughed a big friendly laugh and was off.
That remark has troubled me ever since it was made.
Before I tell you how I react to it ... I'd like to here what you think ... if ever a group of people could untie the Gordian knot of this joke, it's you. So ... you first, me tomorrow.