Saturday, July 12, 2008


Annoyance has been brewing in my mind like a strong black tea. Yesterday I skipped out of work early to go see the 3D mega-movie Journey to The Center of the Earth. I've been really looking forward to it. And as I anticipated, it was a joyous romp. Completely popcorn pop. I was buzzing when I left, amazed at the 3D images which had blazed in front of my eyes. I even reached out to touch something I knew wasn't there. Joe and I zipped down the ramp into the lobby and I stopped just outside the disabled toilet and Joe crossed the hall to go into the men's room.

I was back in my chair waiting for Joe when I felt a hand touch my shoulder. This always creeps me out. I don't like being touched by strangers. Then a face peers into mine. A woman, the far side of thirty, came into view. "I have to ask," she said, "is there any hope?"

She was called away by an embarrassed looking teenaged child before I could answer, but I managed to mutter, "Not for you" loud enough for her to hear. I think.

As noted here before, a wheelchair is a magnet that pulls toward itself all those who are socially, um, odd. There should be a meme some time about the 10 weirdest things that non-disabled people do around disabled people. It would be tough to restrict it to 10, actually. But the thing that gets me is having my day, my mood, intruded upon. Unwelcome touch and disturbing conversations in the midst of a fun trip to the flicks with my boyfriend kind of alters the sense of the day.

By this morning, the question, "Is there any hope?" had bounced around my head like a ping pong ball on crack. I couldn't settle it down. So, today, this blog really is for me. I'm trying to get it out of my head and down in words. Maybe that will let me get about my day unimpeded by this question constantly forming and reforming in my mind.

So do I have any hope? What do I hope for?

To answer the question that she was obviously asking. Is there any hope I'll walk again? Well, I still walk a little. I don't imagine I'll ever walk a lot again. But this hasn't led to a destruction of hope.

If walking isn't on the hope horizon, what is?

I'm not going to go all beauty contestant and hope for world peace, the end of world hunger, the day the world goes sane. Of course I hope for these. I even pray for them. But that's too easy.

Really, on a day to day basis, what do I hope for?

I hope to make a contribution.

I hope to brew the best cup of tea.

I hope for a few minutes of backscratching when I get in bed.

I hope that there are comments on my blog.

I hope to laugh.

I hope to lecture in Australia one day.

I hope to finish my next book.

I hope our neighbours dog will sun himself in our yard again today.

I hope that my days continue to challenge me and interest me.

I hope that Joe loves me through another day.

I hope to get back to Amsterdam for another holiday.

I hope that Ruby comes to visit this week with Mike.

I hope for ordinary things.

I hope for extraordinary things.

Yeah, there is hope for me. Of course there is. As they say, "Where there's life, there's hope." I'm constantly amazed that someone might think that because I sit in a wheelchair, that my skies are dark, my hopes are few, my life is less. In the cinema, I had just journied to the center of the earth then in the lobby ran smack dab into the center of ignorance. The T Rex and the flesh eating plants were no where near as daunting as that touch and that tone. Looking for a super hero? Anyone in a wheelchair that hasn't turned into a mass murderer - shows superheroic retraint. Trust me on that one.


Anonymous said...

"A man must swallow a toad every morning if he wishes to be sure of finding nothing still more disgusting before the day is over." - Chamfort (1741 - 1794)

Comforting to know that you "swallowed your toad" after the movie???

Here's hoping all your "hopes" are realized!
Susan Ludwig

Anonymous said...

Those of us "down under" would love to have you lecture here Dave.

Although wise-ass hubby does hope you learn to spell it first! Might also help with the visa application...

Any particular reason for Australia?

Do you reckon there's any hope these kinds of people will learn to keep their mouths shut??

LoL, Susan :-)
Sydney, Australia

Tamara said...

I don't get it. I've never had the experience of using a wheelchair nor has anyone I've been close to. But, to me they're wonderful things that allow someone who has difficulty walking to keep pursuing their dreams - they give us hope, don't they? That if I lose my legs tomorrow, I can still go and see and do.

I just can't figure out the mindset that just sees the "can't".

I hope she heard you mutter, and that the teenager made her realize how ridiculous she was.

... and I saw a little boy this week a few times when I picked up my son from day camp. He was using a wheelchair - both legs were in casts - A friend or a sibling was pushing him through the halls both times I saw them. I think they found that wheelchair to be good fun!

Anonymous said...

I hope the type of people that do this read this blog!

I have always tried to follow the old saying of "treat others the way you want to be treated". Since discovering this blog and becoming a daily reader, I have found myself even MORE aware of my actions and reactions to those around me.

My husband is always amazed at the amount of people who ask for my help when we are out shopping, some in wheelchairs, some partially blind, some just can't read, some are just "fashion challenged"(LOL)...I think it is because I DON'T assume they need my help or treat them any differently than I would want to be treated.

I have family members with disabilities, friends with them, co-workers, etc... Maybe people who have NEVER dealt with anything (poor recluses they must be) just don't have what it takes to handle mainstream life.

Just keep doing what you do here and hopefully the "socially challenged" will catch on!!!

Dave Hingsburger said...

Susan ... tell your husband that the extra I that was in Australia was me ... oops, anyways, I fixed it. I was asked a few years ago to lecture in Australia but couldn't go because of committments here. Now that I am able to go, I can't find the person who was my original contact even though I've tried. So I'd like, one day, to make the trip and lecture there ...

lina said...

I hope she heard your comment.
Unbelievable. Really where do these people come from! Never mind, don't tell me.
Susan's quote was the best, now pass the toad please.

FAB said...

I don't understand why people can't keep thier mouths shut! Why does anyone think they have a right to intrude in this way, just because they see a wheelchair (or in my case TED hose and wabbly gait)? Why would anyone think it's OK to ask me why I kept having children after learning of my son's diagnosis?

We have so much work to do...I'm so glad you're here, doing that work, providing hope that someday the world will be one which recognizes everyone's FAB!

Anonymous said...


There is hope for all of us! In fact i hope one day that lady finds herself in a situation in which she has disiabillity to see that through disabillity is where true hope and strength comes from. Till then sadly she and the us will have to seatle for her ignorance.

Anonymous said...

I smile every time I read you referring to Joe as your boyfriend, after so long. I hope you two get married, is what I hope!

imfunnytoo said...

All that angst from the strange ones who stop you...all that worked up pathos....If they'd just donate to a local independent living organizaton (*not* a telethon) they could exorsize their burst of emotion in a much more productive way...

Glee said...

We should all scoot around airports asking people (non-flyers) "Is there any hope?".

And when they ask why? what? we can say "that you will be able to fly without that mobility aid one day" while pointing at the plane!

Look at the money spent on helping non-flyers fly. and think about what percentage of people in the world actually do use planes. A lot of money and a huge amount of infrastructure to help the few poor non-flying cripples. PAH.

They don't know you Dave so their ignorant questions should be ignored. While I say that I do know what you mean about not being able to get the phrase out of your head.

Once some plumbers who were fitting out my bathroom to make it wheelchair accessible said "Looks just like the Royal Adelaide Hospital" in reference to the fact that there are lots of handrails in my bathroom.

They sullied my new, just as I wanted it and needed it bathroom with their ignorance and they took the shine off it. I have a colourful groovy bathroom done in suffragette colours (purple and green and white) and most people comment on how nice it looks. But I will never forget that comment and even tho it is five years later I still occasionally sit on my shower chair and shake my head and swear at them.


ps Dave you can stay with me when you come on your tour of Australia. I live in Adelaide, in the State of South Australia.