Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Parting of The Bar Chairs

After a day of watching DVD's and eating left over Chinese food for lunch, we decided maybe it was time to shower and head out to the pub. This being day one of a five day vacation, it was about 4:00 when we showered and dressed. We wandered down the street, I frustrate Joe a little bit by being an inveterate window shopper. I figured, however, and Joe eventually agreed, that wandering and meandering our way to the pub was, part and parcel, what vacation was about.

I've written before about how the patrons of the pub snap into action to make sure that I have a pathway in, particularly for my first sharp turn into the bar. We took our places and set about chatting and relaxing in the atmosphere. It was weird relaxing from a day of relaxing, but, it was oddly needed. So. We did.

As this is one of the few accessible bars in the area, another fellow, a scooter user, has started coming there too. Often at similar times to when we are there. I think everyone expected us to become immediate and fast friends because we both have disabilities. But this has not happened. We are nodding acquaintances and we speak mostly when he's trying to get by my chair or I'm trying to get by his scooter. Sometimes our misunderstandings of what the other wants to do can be quite comic. He's pleasant. I'm pleasant. That's pretty much as far as the relationship goes.

So when he was heading out, I saw him coming, and began to turn my chair such that I was backing my back wheels out of the way. The folks in the bar all became aware of us readying to pass in a narrow space. He and I have no difficulty with this. We both know how to use our space, we both know both how much space we need and how much space we take up, we do this with a great deal of ease. However people decided they wanted to help. Nice. But helping isn't helping when people are moving things that don't need to be moved, or calling out instructions that don't need to be called out.

I started to laugh when I noticed that the people behind him were moving chairs that he'd already passed by. The bar was in motion! When I had my chair in position, I asked him, "That give you enough room?" He said that it did. Then looked up to see an aisle completely cleared leaving him a huge passageway out of the bar. For the few minutes that this took to happen, the sound of chairs moving had echoed throughout the small bar.


He was gone.

It was a bit silly and a bit funny. But, I'd rather this that the antagonistic sneer I get when I go to other restaurants and bars and people resent moving their chairs, or sit there an pretend not to hear my request for them to pull their chair in, or move their purse, or grab and empty chair beside them and pull it a bit towards them so I can get by. I'd rather the good naturedness of these particular folks.

To tell a bit of a secret. When this other fellow started coming, I actually got worried. Oh, no, there are two of us in here with big mobility devises. His scooter isn't small. Mine chair isn't either. As it's a small place would they feel 'overtaken' by having us both there. Because really, when we both are there the chair and the scooter, even when parked as out of the way as possible, are highly evident. But, no, no one seems to care. It doesnt' seem to matter. I shouldn't have had to worry, but I did because I thought I had to.

After Joe finished a couple of beer and I finished my tea, with a soda water chaser, we made our way out. The aisle was still mostly clear and I sailed by tables wishing everyone a good night. We made our way over to a friends place, someone dealing with a fairly serious illness, and spent a few hours laughing and joking and reminiscing. We told him about our experience in the bar and suggested that if they could cope with a scooter and a chair, they could cope with his walker. They'd have a hat trick of mobility devices! He said that when he was better, he'd give it a shot. We strolled on home, unhurried because there were more left overs in the fridge. It was going to be a very late supper, but what the hell?

I could get to like this vacationing kind of thing.


Jayne Wales said...

a visually impaired man I know used to laugh about the human chain of very willing helpers that would jump up to assist him and pass him along so they all got to help him to the loo. Everyone wanted to help and he had humour about it and on top if that a fab Scouse( Liverpudlian) accent that made his story telling hilarious.

Anonymous said...

Dave, I'm glad you and Joe are having a nice vacation. I'm sure it is well deserved.

Rachel in Idaho said...

Just the other day I stopped at the store and was buying (among a few other items) a bottle of wine. Now, I live in a small town, and a lot of people know me by sight, but it's a tourist town and we're at the very end of the summer tourist season so the man ahead of me in line was a stranger and looked at me, startled.

"I'm totally legal," I told him. He laughed. I was oddly uninsulted, given that I'm just over four feet tall, but the pure shock he expressed was funny. All was well after that. Hopefully in the future he will look beyond the top of a head to judge somebody's general age.

I would just love to tag along wiht you guys. While at this point I don't use any mobility devices I am definitely Highly Unusual I would think we'd garner some looks. Let 'em look. Ha!