I was going north.
They were coming south.
Two people in big scooters accompanied by one spritely person using a cane. They were talking and laughing. The looked up and saw me, in my big power wheelchair, Joe beside me. I could almost hear ballet music as everyone moved smoothly into place. Talking and laughing continues. Everyone nods a greeting. Thanks are said.
We passed by each other with lots of room to spare.
Moments later, on the same sidewalk, a young woman sees Joe and I coming towards her. She panics.
Stops walking. Pushes herself against the wall in a giant show of I AM GETTING OUT OF YOUR WAY BECAUSE I FEAR BEING CRUSHED UNDER YOUR WHEELCHAIR. I pass by her with about three feet to spare. She sprints away.
Next up on our journey home, was a woman sitting on her walker, clearly tired. She had parked next to a building, gathering her breath. Joe and I passed by her, beside each other, with plenty of room. She called out to me, 'I need one of those.' I called back that she should definitely get one. Really pleasant.
A fellow, slightly wider than a blade of grass, notices us coming toward him. He darts into a store doorway to give us room to pass. I'm sorry but him and an army of his friends could have passed by us with lots of room to spare. I glance over at him and he's even pulled his shopping bags up and out of the way and he's at least four feet away from met. I think he misunderstand my glance so he smiles a I GOT OUT OF YOUR WAY AND I AM MAKING LOTS OF ROOM FOR YOU smile.
I chatted with someone I know who also uses a wheelchair. His chair is much smaller than mine, he tells me that sometimes it seems like his chair has a force field around it that pushes people against walls and into alleys when he passes by. "I don't get it," he said, "but I see actual fear in their eyes, like I'm going to go rogue and mow them down."
"I'll bet you think about it," I said.
I'll let you guess his answer.