Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Literally On The Road

For me, it's become the season of "on roading."

Years ago we went to Hawaii for a conference and, of course, we took a few days holidays after the work was done. It's a beautiful place to be and we have lots and lots of memories. (Including one of a woman, in a bar, who claimed to be a psychic, and who told the friends that I was with that I was a 'drag on their energy' and that I would 'hold them back from achieving their life goals.' Um, yeah, I think she was more bigot than psychic but, hey that's just me.) One of which was doing something we weren't supposed to do. We'd arrived at the car rental counter to be given an upgrade, which really meant they were out of the kind of car we'd rented, and we ended up in some very sporty, very musclely kind of car. It's the kind of thing that you had to sign a "I will not go off-roading in this vehicle" form.


We lied.

We came to the end of a road somewhere and there were a bunch of people off-roading over some territory that looked fun to drive. So, we did. We bounced and screamed and did the kind of vacation stuff that you do when you mind is disengaged from the concept of adulthood. It was fun. We had the vehicle washed professionally to ensure they'd never know and tucked the memory away in the spot where good memories go.

I think if this now as I'm out in my power chair. This time, though, I'm 'on roading'. This means that the curbs that allow access to the sidewalk are completely impassible and I'm heading down the sides of streets, both major and minor. I figure that at least, at my size, I'm visible. I've written about this before, but there's a difference. Now the roads are often equally covered with snow and ice and are bumpy and unpredictable to drive over. A couple of times I've had some real scares.

Yesterday a police officer spoke to me about being on the road and I explained that the curbs do not allow me access and this is my only choice. He took a breath and before he could speak, I said, "And don't tell me that staying home and being a shut in is a choice." He shook his head and said, "I wasn't going to say that," then paused, grinned and said, "well, yes I was. But you are right, that's not a fair option." Then, all police like he told me to "proceed with caution."

I've found though that, except for a few jerks, those driving cars have been extremely understanding and very willing to share the road. It's like they get that they don't want to have to drive in this stuff but have no choice and, as in the moment they understand 'lack of choice' they extend that understanding to me. I've gotten a fair numbers of 'thumbs up' and a few have rolled down their windows to shout encouragement to me. "Roll on!" being my favourite.


It's never going to end.

There is a blizzard outside my window right now.

And yes, I'm going out!


Princeton Posse said...

Great post Dave, from warm sunny Hawaii to cold cold Toronto! I too have noticed a certain comeraderie amongst those intrept winter travellers. Roll on!

Anonymous said...

We had more snow last night too. Maybe it would be different if I had a power chair, but me and my wheels are staying in, until things get shoveled and plowed.
Roll on!

Janielle said...

Hi Dave! I tried to go across my local street the other day with my support worker. We were afraid that if we made it across the street (and that didn't look like it was gonna happen) we wouldn't make it back to my building again. So we wound up working inside. Which has some advantages, but I want to be able to go to Barnes & Noble again!

Anonymous said...

With all the snow you have been getting, no wonder your thoughts have been drifting to Hawaii! It has been a cruel winter. I am thankful that you are able to get around, with difficulty and challenges, but at least out! When the snow comes I think of those who "have" to go out, those on kidney dialysis and the like. I'm sure they too wish they lived in Hawaii! I caught some news today and the mayor, perhaps of New York, was reminding the citizens that it is the law that their sidewalks of businesses and homes were to be cleared within 4 hours of the snowfall. Too bad that didn't happen in Toronto. I hope you, or your chair, wears a reflective vest!

Unknown said...

This is an interesting post, Dave. I’m glad that you had a wonderful vacation in Hawaii. I think the rented car has something to do with it. And about the road, there are really people who can’t share the road. But the important thing is that you will never stoop down to their level. Drive safely.

Michaele @

Unknown said...

great post, your blog is so useful to me - I am just looking into a wheelchair stair lift for my Grandma!