I was heading over to meet Joe at the Avis care return near us. He'd taken the car and I was riding over in my power chair. After a week in the old manual, it was awesome to be out, to be independent, to be free to wander. It was a bit difficult navigating the sidewalk because, as it turned out, the southbound subway trains weren't running so people were either walking or lining up in huge bunches to ride shuttle buses. Even so, I had fun.
Around the time when we were supposed to meet, I headed over to our agreed upon point of rendez-vous. I took an elevator down to the level of the mall where we were supposed to meet and when the door opened a woman was there, with her husband, waiting just outside the door. When she saw me, she quickly moved her power chair back and off to the side. Like many people seem to be, even me sometimes, they were surprised that, when the door opened, there was someone wanting off.
I pulled out of the elevator and said to her, as she was smiling at me, "Well, now that I'm out of the way, it's all yours!" She widened her grin, let go of the control, and gave me a big wave. It was a kind of nice, brief, chair-user to chair-user kind of interaction.
Her husband, who hadn't really been part of the equation, not because he was purposely left out but because he had moved over to the other side and my back was to him, shouted to me over my head. "She can't talk since the stroke." Her face, which had been smiling, fell. Just fell. She had communicated to me with ease and effectiveness. No, she hadn't spoken, but that was really quite irrelevant.
I turned slightly to see him and said, "I understood just fine."
When I turned back, she smiled again at me and winked. I said, "I know, they're all a bit like that aren't they?"
She stopped stared at me for just a second and then burst out laughing. I laughed too. Her husband, stood staring at us and then said, "I was just an asshole wasn't I?"
Good communicator that lady.