Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Eww, de toilet

In my youth, when I was still learning the intricacies of the bathroom, I used to sit on the rim of the toilet, not the seat, so as to dip my derriere in the drink. So to speak.

This totally grosses me out now. If FA were contagious, I would be sure that I got it from the toilet.

I almost returned to those thrilling days of yesteryear this afternoon when I saw down on my toilet and the seat busted. I slipped right off on to the floor. I wasn't hurt, but my pants were pulled down and whenever I tried to stand I heard a pitiful groan that I guess was me.

I finally called mom who was in the other room and she helped me up.

I guess I should be happy I didn't fall in.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Learning from poop picking

I miss my nephew. I decided this as I picked up dog poop.

Don't get me wrong, I'd still be picking up dog poop if he were here.

My nephew may be unique in his respect for his uncle's ability and total disregard for my disability. At least I hope that is what it is.

How else to explain the night we walked Claren? She pooped, and without any semblance of guilt, my nephew said: "I'll hold the leash." And he did, leaving his wheelchair-using uncle to bend over and pick up the poop.

I am lucky to have him and also the people who do pick up the poop because it is a smelly pain.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Crappy sidewalks, crazy people and wheelchair haters, or my evening walk with Claren

Claren and I started out on our stroll tonight and everything was OK ... Actually, not OK but normal.

Whoever planned the sidewalks in my town should be introduced to a steam roller or a level. Each segment of sidewalk is at its own height, even if that height is an inch above or below the next segment.

There are also manhole covers, where the manhole is rectangular and about 2 feet by 3 feet. These, of course, are rarely level with the sidewalk.

And I dare not forget the curb cuts. They are bone-rattling. I tried to go up one particularly nasty looking one slowly, but my wheelchair did not have enough power. When I turned it up to get the power, the chair bounced up the alleged curb cut and avoided tipping, somehow.

But crappy sidewalks, I am used to; crazy folks, not so much.

I was passing these two women who were also out walking. They were not white. Coming toward us was a white guy with big earmuff-like headphones and a scruffy appearance. I nodded to him because that is my flight or fight response: Nod and pray like hell that people leave me alone. It usually works.

As the girls and I passed the guy, he yelled something. And again. And again. I guess he could have been asking the time, but the voice was angry-sounding.

He could also have been yelling at either of us: Me for nodding at him or being in a wheelchair; the girls just for being. My town is not immigrant-friendly.

One of the girls grabbed the other's hand. I just kept going and hoped that I would not get attacked on a busy street.

Finally, I was nearing my street, but I saw ahead of me in a driveway that a minivan had parked across the crappy sidewalk, so I had to go into the more-crappy grass to get by.

What really annoyed me was the pink ribbon magnet on the back of the minivan. What this tableau said to me: "The people with breast cancer are the real heroes; pray for them. People in wheelchairs, ahh fuck 'em."

Saturday, August 25, 2007

I really wish I was making this up

I am staying at my folks again tonight even though they aren’t here. They are on some boat cruise party.

I had dinner at my sister’s and watched a movie. Then I came back to mom and dad’s with my nephew and the fun began.

I took my antidepressants but there were only two, not three, and readers will recall how that effed me up before.

I was taking my pills when my bladder was gripped by this sudden realization that it was FULL and had to empty NOW. But my nephew was in the bathroom on the lower floor. I tried to wait, but he was not in there for a quick one.

So my options: Go to the bathroom in my pants or outside. Not much of a choice. But where outside? It had to be facing away from my sister’s house and dark but not too dark and somewhat accessible.

I settled on the sidewalk to the dog pen. So I got down there, slid my wheelchair feet to the side, unzipped my pants and just about slid off my chair onto the ground because the shorts I was wearing are real slick.

After recovering, I did my business and came back in.

No one was any wiser, though Claren wondered what the hell was up.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Still mad

When I was in grade school, a woman died, and although I did not know her, I'll never forget her.

She was the daughter of a family we knew and went to our church. I was told she accidentally mixed alcohol and sleeping pills. My teacher told the class as we were walking through the science fair that she killed herself.

I waited till we were on our way back to class then told my teacher she was wrong; it was an accident. I don't know if she believed me, but I stood up for something ... against a teacher (a nun no less) ... in grade school. That was not like me.

She also sticks in my mind because of her mom. The daughter was the only girl in a big family, and for years after the death her mom looked as if she had just cried and was about to start crying again.

She called God "that son of a bitch" for taking her daughter. She was angry ... until, she told my mom, she got tired of being mad all the time.

I am tired of being mad, too, mad about my life and my disability, but I am not by a long shot ready to forgive God.

I am at the beach for a few days. I have a beach wheelchair that requires big doorways and a pusher. Mostly today I just sat in one spot. I am with people who would do just about anything for me, but it is hard to focus on me to the exclusion of everyone else. I am not sure I'd want it. And it is hard to watch people play in the surf or just walk down the sand, probably oblivious to how lucky they are.

I feel I should not have come, and that makes me really mad because I love the beach and the breeze and the sand and the smell.

That son of a bitch.

Monday, August 20, 2007

A new hope

It is time, I am afraid, for a change in plans since Drew Barrymore hasn't called. And I don't mean Natalie Portman, although she is pretty much all that and a bag of chips.

No, I think my next option is the psychiatrist I worked with in high school. Not because he was good and kind and helped me, but because he danced with Lynda Carter.

My short balding psychiatrist really danced with Wonder Woman.

Apparently they were both at a party, he wanted to dance with her, so he asked her to dance. And they did. He asked her husband first to make sure there would be no ruffled feathers. He's not stupid.

I went to see him because I started having three recurring worries in high school.

First, I was worried I'd start doing drugs. I'm not sure why. I can't stand taking Advil even, but for some reason I was worried I'd start snorting and smoking anything available. Maybe I thought the only way I'd find friends is if their minds and mine were blurred by drugs.

And I was terrified by the idea of losing control of my mind. It's one reason I don't drink even now, although I also hate the taste. I am sure that the loss of control is very unappealing to me, a person who has little control of his body. I wonder if the fear of drugs was because I knew subconsciously that I was losing control of my body?

But that does not explain why on earth I thought I'd do drugs. I do keenly remember sitting in church in front of a guy in the grade ahead of me and being terrified he was going to stick a drug needle through the pew into my back and get me hooked. Really.

Somewhere out there Nancy Reagan ought to be doing a happy dance because she convinced me drugs are evil.

I was also worried I might kill myself. No surprise there, high school sucked.

But I would never hurt myself, not a fan of pain, and I would be afraid of taking drugs. I might do it wrong and just wind up making myself throw up, which is a fate worse than death.

Of course, being dead would make my life easier (hee-hee). But it would be pretty uncool for my family and friends. So I would not do that to them.

In the end, though, I just don't want to be dead. Not scared, just not ready and awful curious.

I got lots to do, and I want to see how this all turns out. Does our hero get the girl? Who is said girl? Do doctors cure Friedreich's ataxia? Does Star Fleet ever form? Does the big guy (not Mr. Carlson) ever apologize or at least offer an excuse or an explanation?

Finally, I went to see him because I was scared I was gay. I didn't want to be gay because there were things one does with women that seemed awfully cool. Still do. Yes, I know that is kind of illogical to worry about being gay and be attracted to women, but logic, high school and worries don't mix.

The absolute absence of amorous attention must have overpowered the logic of the situation. Not that I tried to stir up any myself. That was where the shrink came in.

After trying to convince me I wasn't gay, he offered to bring in a woman to prove it to me. I recently told my mom that I didn't think he was just going to pick me up a prostitute, and she was more horrified because it meant he had some girl on call.

I declined his offer because just the idea was motivating to my masculinity. In retrospect, maybe I should have accepted. I would not only have got some (although I still don't know what some is) but also have an excellent story.

So with that lane closed, the shrink tried to get me to ask some girl out, any girl. He would say: Is anyone at school cute. Sure, I'd say, I like Amy, but she has a boyfriend. As long as there is no ring, go for it, he advised. I didn't. I haven't seen anyone from high school in years, but I did notice in a class update somewhere that Amy was married to the guy she was dating in high school.

I also didn't take his advice when he wanted me to ask out a secretary at an office I was at for the summer. She was probably 35-40 and I was 21.

I think, though, I am ready to do as he suggested. The problem now is that most of my women friends do have rings. I wonder what he'd say to that: As long as there is no kid, go for it? Or maybe he'd just offer me a prostitute. It would be unkind to refuse again.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Family -- as sweet as S'mores

On Saturday night, I had my first S'mores. Yes, I am that big of a nerd.

It is, though, more proof that my parents neglected me when I was young. I am sure that if they had made me take swimming and piano lessons, I would have been relatively normal and not needed years and years of therapy. And I am sure I would have had S'mores, too.

I had the delicious mix of chocolate, graham crackers and toasted marshmallow with my parents and my younger sister and her family. Eventually, I will live with her family; we are planning a house with a separate apartment for me. "This is just a taste of what's to come," she said.

I told her today that those kind of things give me mixed feelings because it is so awesome but it reminds me what I will never have -- a family of my own to do make S'mores with. You did last night, she said.

She makes me want to cry. And on the bright side I may never change a diaper.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The bike is gone

Emily hit me when I told her this: When you strip away everything, a little boy was not able to keep his bike in a convenient spot because of my wheelchair.

I don't know if he saw the note and moved the bike or if his mom or dad did. Or if Dad has the bike stashed in his garage as he claimed.

I still feel bad about it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Here's another question How long does it take the original bike from hell to move so far into the entrance way that I rub the front tire on the back of my hand as I wheel past?

I left at 7 a.m., and the bike was in my entry way but I could get by easily. When I got home at 4:30 p.m., my left hand hit the bike and my right wheel hit the wall.

I left a note again telling him he is blocking my entry way and added "I can't get in when you park your bike like this."

That was a small exaggeration, but I regret it because now he knows I stretch the truth.

I don't know what I would have done if I had not got my '80s CD with "8675309" on it. Things might have gotten ugly.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Damn kids

Ever wonder how long it takes a kid to ignore, dismiss or forget a face-to-face appeal from a neighbor in a wheelchair? Less than three hours.

All summer, this kid, maybe 10 years old, has been parking his bike in the breezeway of my condo. You aren't supposed to do that; it is against the condo bylaws. But he is a kid, and I think he lives on the third floor so I cut him some slack.

It wasn't too hard to give him a break because he had a small bike that I could move if it was in my way. Not that it wasn't still annoying, but I could deal.

Last week he got a new bike, a big one, one that doesn't fit under the stairs and out of my path. And one I can't move.

I actually had to compose myself before I called Mom and Dad last night and asked them to bring a note out to my place the next day. The bike was parked almost across my doorway. I got past with about a foot on each side, but I almost lost it. That goddamn bike was another in a seemingly endless number of last straws.

When Dad and I got home tonight, I had the note and he went first. He wound up moving the bike so I could get in. I am sure I could have made it -- Dad always thinks my chair is bigger than it is -- but I decided to wait for the bike to be in a bad place before using the note.

I then went to get the mail and saw the kid and bike. I told him I was worried I would hit the bike and asked him to park it against the wall and out of the entry. He said sure.

That was about 5. When I came back out about 7:30, what did I see but the bike tire peeking around the wall in the entry way.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Would that I were pitching woo

I wish I could say that I haven't written much recently because Drew Barrymore and I have been too busy making whoopie. I mean going to the malt shop, Mom.

But the truth is I have been feeling so wrecked lately. I have been working five-day weeks but different shifts. It kills me. I can't sleep the same time or eat at the same time or anything.

Now, though, I am working my regular shift for the rest of the week and am off all next week. If I can just get back on schedule.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Help me, Drew Barrymore, you're my only hope

I have been thinking about my girlfriend, or lack thereof. I think that is why my chest feels so heavy ... although it could also be the temperature is about 100 and the humidity is like 99%.

If I did not get a girl in high school or college, when things were simpler, and I could walk, what chance do I have? So I am counting on Ms. Barrymore, the queen of romantic comedies. (Buffy would be atop my wishlist but I can't see her doing a romantic comedy.)

I need someone like you, Drew, to fall in love with me -- wheelchair, insecurity and all. And you will need to make about the first 50 moves in order to have a relationship.

Maybe you could work in the bank I wheel by each day on the way to lunch, and you see me again and again, and you can't get me out of your mind.

I can see it now: We meet when you drop a wad of bills, and nice guy that I am, I pick it for you. And soon we are laughing over lunch, you are sitting in my lap as I wheel easily down hills.

It could be a screwball romantic comedy. We would each need wacky sidekicks. Yours could be the skanky-looking bank teller who actually has a PhD in veterinary science and quotes Plato. Mine could be a co-worker who talks to rocks.

It'll be a blast, Drew, and it will make millions.

He put my shoe back on

I wore my sneakers to work today because I need to change to shorts after work and it is easier if I can keep my socks on and just slide my sneakers back on. Otherwise I have to take off my socks to wear shorts.

Anyway, a shoe fell off as my driver was buckling me in. He just kindly put it back on. And I was on time!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Let it bleed ... or not

I fell this morning. Unfortunately, I didn't get hurt.

That actually was what I thought when I was getting up from the fall.

It was really more of a slip than a fall. I was holding on to grab bars on either side of my toilet and stood up. But my feet started to slide. They slid all the way until they hit the wall behind the toilet. I never let go of the grab bars so I was OK.

When I was standing up, I felt liquid on my feet. "Please let it be blood," I thought; "please let it be blood." But it wasn't; my toilet was leaking.

Now I now what you are thinking. Something along the lines of "what kind of idiot wishes injury on himself instead of a little plumbing mishap?"

Yes, looking back that was a little silly, but come on. I repair cheap and easy. Fixing a leaky toilet costs money.

Well, usually.

I called my folks to ask my mom to call a plumber for me. When my dad heard the problem, he came out and tightened the toilet. Who knew you could do that?

So no more leak, and I didn't have to bleed.

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