Wednesday, October 26, 2011


After work yesterday, we went over to Whole Foods Market to pick up dinner. First we wandered around the store, did some Christmas shopping, filling up the bag on the back of my wheelchair. Then we went over and filled up some cardboard containers with supper and headed out. Joe took the bag back to the car while I wandered around a store that was stuffed full of stuff.

He joined me and we looked at things, talking about who might like what. Joe's not the shopper I am but he indulges me in this and we spent a pleasant half hour or so looking at stuff, him calling me to look at something, me calling him. We didn't buy anything but got a few ideas. Then we got back to the car and rode over to the hotel.

Once back in the room we answered a few emails, watched some television, had some dinner, and went to bed. It was a nice, but unremarkable evening.

I don't think it's the kind of day that many of those who we encountered during our wander imagined we had. Both of us noticed, but didn't talk about because it too is part of 'the new normal' in our lives, people staring at the both of us. Some pitying Joe. Others pitying me. I think that they think that our days our somehow wildly different than theirs. That our time is spent somehow in different ways, doing different things. Different people do different things, don't they?

We encountered this, and still do to some extent, years ago as a gay couple. (I think our 'coupleness' is nigh on made invisible by my disability, most seem to think Joe either a brother or a care provider.) As a gay couple it surprised people that we shopped, made dinner, went to work ... lived quite ordinary lives. I never really knew what they imagined. I was always just bemused at the idea that somehow gay people were supposed to just spend all our time 'being gay' and none of our time frying eggs for breakfast.

I think the fear that people place on the possibility of their own disability some day is that there will be a loss of 'ordinary'. Well, let me testify, here and now, that we have a lot of 'ordinary' in our lives. It is a 'new ordinary' because old stuff is done in new ways, but it's still old stuff.

All this to say, that we had a lovely, quiet, ordinary night and I'm really, truly grateful for it.


Happy said...

I didn't know when I was young how deeply satisfying ordinary life could be.

Belinda said...

I for one, celebrate the ordinary in life, while recognizing that people are wonderfully extra-ordinary. They carry their lives around within them where-ever they go.

Someone called me last night to apologize for yelling at me during some hours of anger. Thank God I could say to him from the heart, "No worries, I do that too sometimes. It's over, we are friends." His anger had nothing to do with having a disability but everything to do with being human.

CT said...

Dave, I think this is my favorite of your posts ever.

Anonymous said...

Good message. I know many of us have been treated so differently over the years (and made to feel like there is something wrong with us or that we're less than perfect), that we need to remind ourselves that we're just like everyone else ... and that there is not "something wrong" with us. I'm still de-programming myself; but, I'm getting closer to realizing (on a conscious level) that I'm just like everyone else. Thanks, Elizabeth & Andrew

ps. after reading your "sensory" post ... and Andrew and I laughing ourselves silly ... you could be one of our relatives ... lol.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave!,
I am a HSWR student at the College of the Rockies in Cranbrook, BC. I have just finished Do, Be, Do and I find your style of writing and teaching to be very refreshing. Thank you for writing "outside the box". To be honest most of the books for our courses are so dry and boring to read! (and I am pulling out a dictionary every few words. yuck!) I can't wait to be working in the field. Thanks again for being such an inspiration!
hope to meet you someday :)