Saturday, 17 March 2007

With Friends like these

Eric Ravilious - Water Wheel
(picture unconnected to post title, just another set of wheels)

Imagine the Scene: town centre car park by the river, returning after a quick essential shop, by chance I had seen my lovely friend, the most attractive fanciable crip in a chair I have ever known, and the sun shone and the birds sang and I felt good.
Opened up the back of the van, let down the ramp, all the while sat in the wheelchair. Caught sight of a lady walking quickly, almost trotting, across the car park straight towards me in the corner I was parked in, waving, smiling, calling.
Oh hell, I thought, my brain is not in gear as I thought it was - or - have I got the wrong specs on; because I had not the faintest idea of who she was.
"Hello," she said, "that's very good for you isn't it, lets you be independent, do you do it yourself, do you, do you drive it yourself or does someone drive it for you ?"
No, I don't know who the f... she is, so what could I say, but: "Is that ANY of your business?" "Well, I was just saying how nice it is for you." "Yes, thank you."
I can be polite, in a chilling, dismissive, patronising sort of way.
I can spot them, after eight years of being targeted; the patronising nosey people who assume my day will be made better by them giving me a little of their time and view of my life.
I can also spot the really interested ones, who are diffident, polite, apologise in advance, before they ask me about my van and wheelchair configuration. Usually they are interested because they can foresee the day they might need such equipment or they know someone who does not have the information that I can pass on.
For such as those, I have all the time in the world and the goodwill to engage with them.

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Blogger FSJL said...

I must confess that when I encounter people with motorized wheelchairs, I enquire about the speed and range (my mother-in-law has one for getting about outside the house; she's 81 and while spry not as mobile as she once was).

Sunday, 18 March 2007 at 01:44:00 GMT  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

That is one of the most frequent questions I am asked; and happily answer. Mine in theory does 25 miles at 4 mph - but am I likely to want to do 25 miles at 4 mph !
I think it is wonderful that life is changing for older people, so no longer do they stay immobilised at home when age slows them down, but have a new lease of life mobilised.
Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, 18 March 2007 at 11:11:00 GMT  

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