Saturday, October 05, 2013


I'd always thought it was just me.

I have that problem.

There is a fellow who I run into on a regular basis. The first couple times I ran into him, I nodded a silent acknowledgement. He's a power chair user, I'm a power chair user, it's an exclusive club, I figure a brief gesture of 'hello' is warranted. Both times, he pointedly ignored the gesture and sped up. OK, I get the message, you don't want acknowledgement. Perhaps it was because I was a stranger. Perhaps he doesn't hang with or want to be seen in any kind of, even fleeting, relationship to others with disabilities. Whatever, his reaction to me is fairly intense every time. Like he wants to get away from me before I go all 'greety' on him again. He need fear not, I'm good with respecting his wishes to go 'greetless'.

Downtown here there are a fair number of us in scooters and wheelchairs. Most of us nod to each other, a few of us don't. Cool. I've lived her long enough to know who does and who doesn't. I've been helped out by a few times having someone roll up beside me and tell me that my tire on one side needs air. I've done the same for others. I had a woman, once, stop me and tell me that a new store in the area had rearranged the interior and is now accessible. She was bubbling with excitement and bags hung off her chair. I thanked her for the information.

Yesterday Joe and I were going over to get our hair cut and as I approached the intersection I saw that there was a wamble of wheelchairs. He was directly in front of me. He was staring at the red light, willing it to change. I pulled up beside him. This may have seemed like I was purposefully trying to make him uncomfortable, but in truth, it was the only place I could go so I could leave space for pedestrians to pass behind me. He was surrounded.

Suddenly, I felt really sorry for him, he was hating it. I almost thought he was going to cry, he was so uncomfortable. Sitting in a small group of fellow four wheelers seemed almost painful to him. When the light changed he shot across the road. In fact, a car was racing through and there was a bare miss, a near tragedy. But he was gone. We all, the rest of us, looked at each other.

One muttered, "asshole."

The woman next who rode along beside me said, quietly, "He fears in himself what he sees in us."

I said, "Shouldn't he be seeing community."

She just shook her head and said, "Trust me, his definition of community is very different than yours and mine."

Once cross the street we all went our separate ways, one old fellow joked that we should 'parade' more often. We all laughed. It was nice, for the most part, to take over a corner even if it looked like the special bus had just dropped us all off for an outing.

I wish he could have joined the laughter - but he was long gone, and perhaps, too far gone.


Louna said...

How sad... On another note, I like "wamble of wheelchairs".

Kristine said...

Lol! When I try to say it out loud, I suddenly lose my ability to pronounce R and L... "a wambwe of wheewchaiws." Try it, it's fun! :)

Anonymous said...

You are such a good writer Dave. Thanks!