Saturday, August 13, 2011

the Sidewalk Ambassador

Dear Sirs and Madams,

I assure you, I see every stare, every sideways glance, and every double take. The fellow walking down the sidewalk on his cellphone stopping dead to stare at me as I get out of my van and walk around it to pull out my wheelchair and wheel myself up onto the sidewalk. The college girls who hurry past me and then take furtive glances back as they wonder what's wrong with me. The mother who looks at me with sympathy and a small dose of "thank goodness that's not me" as she herds her children across the street while mine wait patiently for me to maneuver to the crosswalk.

As Sidewalk Ambassador, I am happy to answer your every question, from my diagnosis and symptoms to my medications, therapies, and prospective longevity. My children can amuse you with their ability, at the ages of five and six, to pronounce the rather long name of my diagnosis and to demonstrate their ability to push my wheelchair for me when my arms give out. We are eternally pleased to interrupt our errands to discuss my health and my children just adore it when someone asks if my disease is progressive, or terminal; because of course children that young won't figure out what those words mean. Likewise if there's a cure. I don my badge of disability with pride and live to serve your curiosity.

Remind me, where can I send my letter of resignation?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Perk of the Day

Perk of the Day: Confronted with a two-inch concrete lip on the door to the public pool where my oldest is signed up for swimming lessons, I looked around and caught the attention of the nearest lifeguard for some help maneuvering my wheelchair over the sill. He was very helpful and wheeled me -- right on into the women's changing room. (No, no one was naked.) They were appreciative. I feel slightly evil.

Hey, if you're going to have to deal with inaccessibility to public areas, you might as well have fun with it before making That Phone Call to the city hall.