Friday, June 01, 2007

A Stick Up The ...

"The stick's up my back."

He'd broken into my reverie. I was sitting on the sidewalk on Argyle Street in Halifax having a cup of green tea. Joe had gone to park the car and deposit the groceries to the room. I had noticed this spot when we got here last night and I loved the idea of just sitting outside and having a quiet tea.

After the day's presentation I was exhausted. Haligonians are a terrific audience, willing to both think and laugh, but I was still tired. We did a few chores after the day, banking, getting groceries, making a couple calls ... but then I asked Joe if he'd let me off at the coffee bar and let me go in and get a cup of tea and just sit quiet for a moment.

I don't stare at people, I stare into the distance but sometimes people come into my gaze. I never see them, I'm looking but not seeing. So when he spoke to me, I was startled.

"Pardon," I asked.

"The stick's up my back." He said, grinning.

"I don't follow." I was confused.

"You were staring at the way I was walking so I thought I'd tell you I've got a rod up my back." No hostility, he had light in his eyes.

"Oh, sorry, I wasn't staring, I was just looking into the distance." I was embarrassed.

"I know, I know," he said, "I saw you sitting here in your wheelchair lost to the world so I thought I'd say Hi."

"What's the thing with the rod up the back?" I asked warming to this friendly stranger.

"Oh, everyone says I look like I've got a stick up my ass and I correct them, it's actually up my back. I have a rod that supports my spine. It works but I walk ... well ... like I've got a stick up my ass."

He noticed a friend and waved, we chatted a couple minutes more and he said, "I'm getting a sense that there is more and more of a disability community. Like you can just chat like we did because we have common ground. Do you feel that way?"

I said, "I'd like to think that we're headed in that direction but I meet so many people who really don't want to be associated with another disabled person."

"Pity," he said.

"Really, I said.

But he's inspired me. I'm gonna start just chatting to others with disabilities just because we're part of the same community. And just because - we should act like it.


All 4 My Gals said...

Dave, Do you have your speaking schedule online somewhere? I would love to meet you in real life and hear you speak. I have a feeling that even though that guy was friendly, there is something about you that draws people out. I really believe God has given you a gift and we are blessed it was to better our community!

Dave Hingsburger said...

nicole, I don't have a listing of lectures anywhere, sorry. I've always meant to get a web page and this blog is as close as I have managed! Dave

Anonymous said...

Nicole's question reminds me to ask, though -- do you ever come down to Washington, DC?

(And I do hope you figure out a way to set up a web page to list your upcoming speaking dates. Maybe you could also post some of your handouts and power point programs, if any, for people to download.)