Friday, October 26, 2012

A Well Flavoured Life

I was in line in the grocery store behind a nice looking disabled fellow who leaned casually up against the counter, giving his arms a rest. He used arm brace crutches and I'd seen him moving around the store with great speed. He obviously shops there a lot and knows where he's going and the shortest way to get there. We'd done the 'nod' thing that sometimes happens between disabled people sharing abled space. I chose that line up, not because he was there, but because the lineup was the shortest.

We piled our stuff up behind the little barrier he had set behind his thus making it possible for us to unload. He had a small green bag that was buried amongst his other stuff. I couldn't see what it was but it had the words 'luxurious flavour' peeking out. I lifted up trying to see what it was. It's clearly not something I've seen back home in Canada. I'm a guy who likes luxurious flavour and was interested in seeing if it was something worth checking out.

I didn't want to look like I was snooping into his stuff. Which was exactly what I was doing of course. So I only glanced a few times. When the clerk picked it up to scan it, it moved so quickly that it was out my sight and into his bag before I ever found out what it was. The fellow, who had been rubbing his left arm where it had rubbed to hard against the crutch, looked over and saw me.

He smiled and said, 'We all need a little luxury in our life don't we.'

I agreed.

He swung his bags expertly and headed out of the store taking the mysterious flavour with him.

Why am I writing about this tiny little incident?

It strikes me, again and again, how the real lives of people with disabilities fly in the face of stereotype and spit in the face of pity. Yeah, he's got a disability. Yeah, he gets around on crutches. Yeah, all that's true. But he also lives a life of secret pleasures and joys. He likes luxurious flavour and likes a brief and shared moment with a stranger.

Luxurious flavour - whatever it was - in it's shiny green bag - is probably being enjoyed right now by someone who others feel sorry for - how sad is that?


Anonymous said...

It is so true - that knowing nod that happens. You described it so well. I hope the fellow enjoys his luxury - whatever it was. I vote chocolate something or other...:-)

Betty said...

Maybe imported Dutch chocolate with a nougat filled center? I want some now too.

Faery said...

Hi Dave,

I can't be certain but it sounds like it might have been a bag of coffee (the kind you make in a pot/cafetiere) - although maybe I'm just thinking about some of the little luxuries I like in my life.

Hugh Campkin said...

It makes me think of our special 'boxes' that each of us have in our lives, Dave - whether that's an actual box of special keepsakes or luxuries, or a space in our hearts for memories or desires or dreams...

You shared that image and many other stories and insights today at our training in Bognor and I believe you have set hearts and minds alight

Thank you for coming to spend time with us... I hope we can share some of what we look at and try to work on, and that we can continue to have a dialogue when we get stuck (and when we break free to move forward)

I sat at home tonight and shared a bit about the day with my wife, Hanna (also an assistant in L'Arche, but needing to cover the work areas today whilst others of us sauntered about eating sandwiches at training...). A particular highlight was your story about Ruby and the pool, and her 'claiming' you, unconditionally... incredibly moving. Thank you for bringing that into the group

Hope you enjoyed Bond!!

With best wishes for the rest of your trip,