Saturday, September 26, 2015


Photo description: Hand drawing of a thermomiter.
I don't know if they felt it but I did.

I was showing someone something on my phone, something I wanted to share with them. As I am in my 60's I operate my smart-ass phone with the full knowledge that it has an obstinate mind which loves to battle with me. Younger people seem to have better control over the beast that lives beneath the screen. Anyways, in order to see what I was doing and to see what I wanted to show, a sort-of friend of mine came round behind my chair.

She started to give me advice, much welcomed, about how to get where I wanted to go, and I carefully followed her instructions. She acknowledge that she thought the phone and I had issues that needed working on. However, eventually I found what I wanted and I enlarged it so that she could see it better. I was about to hand it to her when I felt her put her hand on the handle of my wheelchair, something she has never done before, and lean in to see.

I felt that touch on the handle of my chair as much as I would have felt a touch anywhere on my shoulders or back. In the seconds that it took her to look at what I was showing her I evaluated how I felt about her hand on my chair. Went through the gradients of reaction to this kind of touch and ended up with the fact that it felt OK. That I liked her and I trusted her and I was really OK with her hand on my chair.

This signalled to me that our relationship had moved from sort-of friend to actual friend. She had always before respected my chair, never intruded on my space and in that concept of space she had included as people should, my chair. She never asked for permission to put her hand where she put it, it was just a natural move, as if she, like me, was indicating that our relationship was different, was deeper.

It's like the handle of my chair is a thermometer that measures the warmth of my relationship with others.

To me, that's kind of cool.

Do others feel that way?


Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt said...

No chair yet, and I don't think anyone's ever laid a hand on my walker, when I use it.

Sounds quite cool to use it as a measurement of closeness.

And I hear you about smartphones.

Jesse the K said...

So much yes!

Additional complication is their weight on the handle jiggles my body, which means pain. So when the touch isn't welcome, I'm cranked up to cranky, and have difficulty telling them hands off "politely enough."

Anonymous said...

Doesn't bother me at all, as long as they are not trying to move me or direct me. Leaning on the chair, handle, whatever, is just fine with me. If one is standing beside the chair and needs to see something down at my level, that is an awkward bend. The chair isn't me. As long as there is no abuse of any type, lean on me.

Katherine said...

This is helpful to me as a support to know that this kind of touch is as important as I have always imagined it would be. Now I know I have been supporting properly when I discourage others from touching chairs where the occupant cannot express this him/her self. Thanks for this.