Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Normal Days

After having been held captive by a massive winter storm it was nice to get back on the road. We crossed the border and then headed east on I90 for hundreds of miles. We stopped at the first service center on the freeway. We needed to fill one tank and empty others. The disabled parking area was the only one not plowed and the ramp was completely covered in ice. We parked near the front entrance and made our way up the small ramp there. After using the loo I headed into the gift store, I am a gift store kind of guy, while Joe went to Tim Horton's for more tea and pop.

In the gift store was a young family. They were of East Indian descent and the parents were locked in battle with their youngest child. The child had picked up a souvienier of the silly variety and the parents were simply saying, "No, you want it now but won't want it five minutes from now." Amidst screaming, crying and full body protestations, they had to surgically remove it from the child's hands. Mother walked out of the store in frustration while father picked up the now limp child and carried her out of the store. The clerk and I glanced at each other and smiled.

Then a couple hours later we stopped to get something to eat. This is hard for Joe who believes that the purpose of the journey is to arrive - stopping for bathroom breaks is a challenge for him, gas is an annoyance, but lunch - it sends him into shock. But I needed and wanted to have lunch. We went to the food court of a mall that was just off the freeway. I could easily watch others because by then Joe wasn't speaking to me. "No, I'M not hungry" was his response to my question about what he was going to get - that was the last word we spoke for fifteen or twenty minutes. I watched people. Joe watched minutes disappear, every one leading to a later arrival than anticipated.

Anyways, there was a young mother with a child in one of those harnesses with a leash. The kid was madly off in all directions, she looked tired. Once food was got and table was found, she had a few moments of battle as she tried to convince her boy, whose name in print would have been Jonathan, but in spoken word JONaaaaaaaacomeonnow!!THAN. Jon squirmed in her grasp and she worked to get a bite or two into him. Jon's eyes kept glancing around for the perfect moment to escape. Not the picture of Mom and kid with Down Syndrome that they show on commercials.

Finally in the hotel. By then Joe had long gotten over the fact that we had stopped, pulled into a mall, got out and had lunch (well, I had lunch because he wasn't hungry who needs lunch at 2:30 anyways) and we were back to chatting again. I wanted to spend a few minutes writing out some notes for a post on this here blog.

You see it struck me, that little squabble with the East Indian kid in the rest stop, the kid with Down Syndrome squirming in the food court, Joe and I spatting because it filled time in a 9.5 hour drive (which could have been a 8.75 hour drive) ... this is what people do. That's what parents cope with, that's what couples get into. There is stress in parenting. There is stress in relating.

Perhaps disability sometimes gets blamed for someone having a normal day - a day full of stress, a day full of spats, a day full of silly things taking on huge importance.

Perhaps it's because we're human beings trying to manage that causes stress.

Maybe it's as simple as that.


Anonymous said...

Have you seen this blog?

This website/blog was started to document and provide discourse on crimes against people with disabilities. They even have a link to Chewing the Fat.

Thanks for all your insights. I don't start my day without reading your blog.

/s/ Mom to 9 year old daughter with DS

Lala!! said...

Intersting blog! Seen mone lately? Cannot "stop for something to eat".........have a look! Thanks! Perhaps a link too?

Unknown said...

It is true that living alone would be living without this kind of stress. For people who can stand loneliness, or who don't feel lonely, life can be easy.
A woman I know very well told me, when her husband of fifty had died, she was terribly sad, but she tried to comfort herself by thinking of the times they had experienced such stressful moments because one of them wanted this and the other wanted that, and the arguments they had had. "From now on", she said to herself, "I will decide everything all by myself!"
I must add this lady is not an egoistic woman, on the contrary she is the sweetest perso I know.

Belinda said...

Thanks for this story. It helped me today because I am having a "normal day" myself. Now I can smile and know that I am not alone! :)

moplans said...

oh Dave I think you are so right.
I cannot count the number of times I have wondered this very thing.