Wednesday, August 14, 2013


On our way home from the Art Gallery of Ontario, where we poured images and ideas into our minds through our eyes, we decided to stop at the big Canadian Tire store a few blocks away. We needed to get a bicycle pump so that we could fill the tires of the power chair, when necessary, without having to go to the garage. We found the bike pumps and were immediately stumped. The clerk, a young guy who seemed to be relieved to be talking about something other than bikes, came along and we explained we didn't want to buy without trying and the way they were all packaged we couldn't.

He zipped out a knife, opened a package, and was down on his knees beside my chair, chatting about how poorly designed the wheel was in the placement of the valves. He couldn't get the pump to grip the valve, but he wasn't deterred. We went and looked at every kind of pump and none of them would work. He recommended that we check and electric version down on aisle 60. We headed off to see what was there.

We found a bunch of them, in a wide range of prices, but all of them operated out of a cigarette lighter thingy in the car. I wondered if they had a thingy that you could plug the thingy into that would then plug into the wall. We took this question to two other young men working over in automobile supplies. They listened carefully to my description of the thingy into the thingy into the wall thing. I explained that I wanted to be able to have my tires inflated at home rather than the garage.

They found me a thingy for the thingy for the thingy to go into. "This should work," the taller of the two said, handing it to me. "You want me to explain how it works?" The picture showed a thingy receptacle at one end of the cord and a plug at the other end, I said I was good. We headed off to purchase the items.

We left the store with what we needed.


We left the store pretty impressed. I was there talking about my wheelchair with three different people, talking about how to make it such that care for the chair was a little easier, and it was just a normal, typical, interaction. I could have been talking about a bike or a car or any other means of getting around. It never got weird. We all know how easily that happens. It never got uncomfortable. We all know how disability stuff freaks some folks out. The whole time it was just about pumps and about 'adaptors' (that's what they called it, a wonderfully useful term).

I guess I'm glad that they had adaptors for the pump but they didn't need adaptation to serve me. I was just a guy with a wheel that needed pumps and they were just people who sold pumps.

I don't get 'ordinary' very often.

It's nice.


Glee said...

very nice indeed :)

clairesmum said...

I have a wise friend who quotes her late mother...."what's seldom is wonderful." It's taken me quite a while to understand what she means, but perhaps this experience is an example? I would have felt intimidated in that setting just by being female, but they sound like a good group of guys.

Anonymous said...

In our community we get that "ordinary" for one person we support at the hardware store. He is able to go in and tell the guys what he needs and they all team up and figure it out. These guys have no clue what a difference they have made just by listening and problem solving. Cool!

Princeton Posse said...

I am glad you were able to find assistance at CanTire. I refuse to shop there due to a lack of service.

Jeannette said...

You went and talked to people who were expert in their field, and talked to them about something they were experts about. Matter-of-fact. Thinking about the mechanics I've known, the whole thing makes perfect sense to me.
AND you gave them a bit of a challenge, a problem to solve. You probably made their day, Dave.

wheeliecrone said...

Isn't it pleasant when you can have an ordinary transaction with people, dealing with an ordinary problem?
Personally, I get really tired of being so very unusual and watching people freak out because I am talking to them, just as if I were an actual ordinary person. It is a blessed relief to be regarded as just another person, in spite of the fact that I use a wheelchair.

krlr said...

Your post the day before this made me despair a bit - I find it odd that the nurse & your nosy reader, both allegedly in the 'people/service' business were so intrusive, but the mechanic/engineer sort, who usually get a bad rap as non-people people, were wonderful. (Wow. Talk about stereotyping!) I was going to make a joke about how it should average out to 'typical' but it a/wasn't that funny and b/the mechanics SHOULD be the standard, and the rest just extreme deviations on the social bell curve. *sigh* If only that were true.