Sunday, June 13, 2010

Dave, The Pusher

Every now and then I find a really good floor.

I never noticed floors before disability. Oh, I guess I did in kind of an oblique sense - they were there, I walked on them. But I didn't notice their colour, their texture, the hardness of the wood, the softness of the carpet. I know that in the north they have twenty words for snow, well, we wheelchair users could have an equal number of words for describing a floor.

For the uninitiated, the type of floor affects the 'roll-ability' of the wheelchair. Carpets typically make pushing harder, though there are some carpets that have less 'stickiness' than others. Wood is good, some linoleums are awesome, some are awful. Floors don't seem to be taken into consideration regarding accessibility. They should be. For some reason accessible rooms are almost always down long hallways, thick plush carpet that is aimed a welcoming weary travellers makes my arms and shoulders scream in pain.

So a good floor is incredible. And I've been on some good floors. The floor in the Imperial War Museum in Manchester, that's a good floor. Although, it has a slope to it so it's really good one way, not so good coming back. The floor in my office is a good floor, but it's hard to say because with the placement of doors I can grab and hurl myself along quickly. Anyways, I know floors.

On our way home from Butler on Friday, we stopped at a Wegman's in Erie. We wanted to pick up a few groceries to take home and we wanted a brief 'get out of the car' respite. Joe rolled me up the slight incline and then headed to the bathroom, Joe knows bathrooms up and down the American Interstate system. As he went I told him I'd go and check out the hot soups with an eye to having dinner. I gave one push and I flew. This was a floor! A really good floor! It was a floor that was worthy of an exclamation mark!!

By the time Joe came back I'd scoped out the soups, the salad bar and found the tofu in garlic sauce. I was having a great time. We went and found what we wanted. Looked around the 'seasonal' aisle - my favourite in any store. And then headed to the cash. Joe took the bags to check in and I said, 'I'll meet you at the door, I want to push around a bit.' Joe remarked that we were along way from the door. I remarked, 'Not on this floor we aren't.'

And off I went. The store wasn't as crowded as we expected it to be, being a Friday and all, so I was able to get up a head of steam. I was going very quickly when I saw that I'd have to turn to avoid a display and be oriented correctly for the exit door. Instead of slowing I gave a few more hard pushes and then grabbed my left wheel to occasion a right turn. I turned sharply.

I noticed a little boy watching me as his mother was picking up produce. I heard him say to his mother as they walked away.

'Can I have a wheelchair when I grow up mom?'

I grinned and headed out the door and down to the car.

Gotta love a good floor.


theknapper said...

gotta love that kid

Tamara said...

Gotta love both those kids ... :-) I'm thinking, though, that maybe those who choose carpets for accessible areas are doing it on purpose ... maybe they're worried about those wild people flying down the hallways poppin' wheelies!!

Lene Andersen said...

I love that ability of kids to see the fun that can be in a wheelchair. Adults just don't get that. ;)

FridaWrites said...

Do you notice how many floors are sticky? I notice that a lot more than walking with shoes. The rubber on wheels sticks more.

FAB said...

I think I'll be paying much more attention to the floor now...the last time it occurred to me was when I pushed my kids in strollers. Thanks!

~ Teresa ~ said...

I had the opportunity recently to use a wheelchair due to a broken ankle. Smooth floors... gotta appreciate them! They are so much more fun because you can be zippy! Yeehaw! I like the purple color backgrouond. Change can be fun, huh?

Anonymous said...

The sad thing is, the floors that are the best for someone in a 'chair are the worst for me! On a smooth, hard floor like that, my feet get sore so fast because of that lack of carpeted cushioning. And if I stay on them too long, those floors make it more likely that the soles of my feet will start tearing.

I do have to agree with you on pitch, though. A floor with a heavy degree of pitch, especially side to side, HURTS!! My ankles get it the worst, but my knees and hips feel it too. A front-to-back pitch doesn't hurt nearly as badly, though it's still uncomfortable.

It's so frustrating how often we end up with dueling disabilities!


paul said...

This story made me laugh out loud. Thank you.