Monday, October 17, 2011

Stella Keller and Saint Peter

They'd moved the Keller.

So, I had to improvise. First I tried turning the power chair round and going at it from a different direction. I thought I'd maybe be able to reach up to where it was, just out of reach on the top shelf. I could touch it but not get enough of a grip to be able to lift it over the cardboard barrier created by the box it came in. The only person around was a young surly looking guard. He was stocky, wore a tight blue official kind of sweater, dark blue pants, and had handcuffs attached to his belt. He wasn't, um, what's the word, approachable.

But what the hell, the Keller was out of reach.

I asked him in my most polite voice if he'd help me by putting eight tins into my waiting bag. He glanced around to see if he was being watched, grunted that he'd help me, and then came over and put the beer in the bag as if it was the most degrading thing he'd ever done. As he was doing it, I asked, "What's the big deal, something like this must break the tedium of the job doesn't it?" He smiled a kind of apology and said, "In my job, I've got to look and act tough."

"Hmmm," I said, "personally I think helping a guy in a wheelchair get beer not only looks tough, it looks vaguely illegal." He permitted himself a very small laugh. Bag loaded with the requisite number of Kellers, I went in search of a few Stellas to add to the bag and then decided on getting a couple Saint Peter's Ale because it was Sunday and because I like the bottle. It was quite the shopping trip.

As I was heading up to the cashier, the guard stopped me and said, "I thought about what you said, you're right, helping you out didn't make me look weak. Besides there are lots of ways to be strong, aren't there?" I could see he had really thought this through, "Yes," I answered, "and one of the most powerful ways to show strength is to ask for help when needed."

He looked perplexed.

But he had something more to do with his day: think.


Kristin said...

I think you did good Dave. You got someone to think and they learned something.

Just Jess for now said...

Awesome. :)

Tamara said...

Poor guy isn't going to know how to act tough anymore ...

Anonymous said...

a true teacher you are, Dave.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

today was a good/bad day. Couldnt decide how to feel about it until I read your post.

Saturday to Sunday night I had a lung bleed. Not a big one but the first one in almost eleven years. All hell in my head broke loose. My doc was on holiday so I used the emergency cell phone number to call him and he calmed me down. Same did my cardiologist. Today the bleeding stopped and all I had to do was to endure a few tests at my clinic.

Even so it could have been a big inconvenice everybody stepped in and helped me. If everything turns out well I can return to work on wendsday.

Everyone I asked is an authority but for me they are just humans who help me. And I am glad about it even though I am far fom glad having the lung bleed.

In the waiting room I met a mother with her son I havent seen for years. He is 12 years younger than I am. He had more major surgerys than I had during the last five years. I thought he would be okay and having a job right now. Turns out his kidneys stopped working and he is homebound with dialysis for nine month right now.

When I had to go to therapy because I could not deal with the way the world for me anymore one of the questions at the paper I had to fill was: Where do you get help from or in wihich situation? And my answer was simple: I always get help if I aks for it!

I dont know if this post makes any sense because today I am very tired. But it was the first thing that popped up while i was reading your post.

I am glad I am able to ask for help if needed and then to get it.

Well done Dave!

Anonymous said...

'one of the most powerful ways to show strength is to ask for help when needed’
My oh my. That’s what my partner has been telling me these days when i’ve been struggling with my head in a mess.
Good to hear it from you too.
I think I have to be real brave to ask for help...
... (small voice) I’m scared the help might not materialise, and that would hurt so bad.
Being strong and brave enough to ask for help, feels just too hard when I feel so broken.
But your post makes me feel a little more convinced that I can do it. Thank you.

Bruce Ticknor said...

I admire your taste in beer, Well, not the Stella but certainly the St, Peters.
Wanted to thank you for linking the Keller to my site. I run and the added traffic was much appreciated.

wheeliecrone said...

When I started to use a wheelchair (about 10 years ago) I quickly discovered the one thing that would be most difficult for me - asking for help when I needed it. Oh, how I struggled with that one! But it turned out to be a life lesson that I needed to learn, apparently.
I still have to take a deep breath before I ask for help, but each time I do it, it is a tiny bit easier.
I make it a point of honour never to ask for help unless I really need it, though. That is really important to me.

It does take strength to admit that you cannot do something.