Sometimes people just don't 'get' me. My sense of humour eludes them. Shortly after landing in the wheelchair, I was downtown with some friends going for a beer. The bar we habituate isn't accessible in that it has one step in and a flight of steps down to the bathroom. But that's where I wanted to go so we went. We managed me in and chatted like old times, with the exception that regulars kept coming over and asking me what was wrong with me and how long would I be confined to the chair.
When we left I was feeling the beer and was in a, um, playful mood. It had been nice being back to real life - out of the hospital and out with friends. We stopped at the corner and I waited as everyone else ran into 7-11 to pick up pop, snacks and smokes. As I waited a homeless youth approached me and asked for money. It was all the opportunity I needed. My warped sense of humour flew out of me.
"Man, you realize you just tried to panhandle a cripple for money, do you realize how far you've fallen?"
I thought that was really, really funny. But he burst into tears and flew off. "It was just a joke," I mused to myself, giggling at my own wit.
So, I've been careful with the 'cripple' thing ever since, not wanting to upset people unnecessarily. Until last night, that is. We went for a beer in the bar downstairs in the hotel and sat at the bar. We'd been cooped up in the car for 11 hours as we drove from Quebec City to Halifax - I was a bit stir crazy. We parked at the bar and the bartender approached and asked, "how are we tonight?" I said, "Well, I can't walk, but other than that, I'm good." He actually laughed. I was bouyed by my success with crip humour.
Above the bar was a huge screen playing sports. Another waiter came and stood beside me as he was rolling cutlery into napkins. He asked if we wanted to wager on the 'Memorial Cup' and I told him that I didn't even know what the 'Memorial Cup' memorialized. Then he laughed and told us that the game had been on earlier, he knew the results so he knew he'd win. I joked, "You were going to swindle a cripple? What kind of guy are you?"
He leveled his gaze at me and said, "Hey, hey, hey," long dramatic pause, "swindle is an awfully harsh word." And we both laughed.
I've decided that I like the maritimes. They don't take anything too seriously. I think this is going to be a fun trip.