Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Font of grace wants a day or two off

Almost 10 years ago, my newspaper sister wrote a column about her siblings' disability. She said that I, and my brother, was a giver of grace because I offer people the opportunity to help a stranger. I don't know how she feels about her column after 10 years. I read it and still find the words ring true. That does not mean, though, that I am not sick to f--ing death of being a font of grace.

I had several notable experiences today, some exciting in the sense of I could have gotten hurt but didn't, some just annoying as hell. They leave me longing for a nice boring life, when I am not someone who needs help from strangers.

I got to work an hour late, after getting on the para-transit bus almost two hours earlier. I think I am just going to give the service props for coming up with new ways to make me, borrowing from Homer Simpson, "groin-grabbingy" late.

Today, I got on the bus a few minutes early and we drive about 20 to 30 minutes to a nearby town to pick up another client. We then drove her 10 minutes back to my town, and here is the twist: The client told the driver her dropoff was for 8 a.m., and she could not be dropped off early. So we sat for 10 minutes in front of the Herndon Senior Center. I understand that the center did not open till 8, but you can't schedule trips you can't be early or late for. At least that is what I have learned.

The upshot of my continued lateness is that I am not taking a comp day for working all day Sunday. I can't rely on getting to work on time anymore; at least now I will not be costing the company money. And this was my idea.

I went to the restroom and someone sat in the stall next to me. This was fine except for when I knocked the loose roll of toilet paper onto my neighbor's foot. The foot didn't move, but I was too embarrassed to apologize, and no way in hell am I reaching under a stall divider -- no matter what. So I just fled.

I went into the bathroom later and I did notice the stall next to the wheelchair stall has two loose rolls of toilet paper. That was not why I went to the bathroom, but as I was transferring to the toilet, I reached out to grab the grab bar and just missed. My head smacked the stall divider, and I tweaked my ankle, but I was OK. The biggest problem: I was in a tight spot and kind of stuck. I could move plenty, but there was not enough space to enable me to stand.

Then I heard someone come in the bathroom. In a minute or so I heard the faucet so I figured he was leaving and I could get back to my grunting and standing. But then I heard: Excuse me, are you all right?

I laughed and said yes, but when he asked if I needed help I took him up on it and opened the stall. Fortunately, I had not pulled my pants down before I fell. He helped me up on to the toilet, then my chair and held the stall door for me to get out so I did, though I still had to go to the bathroom. I just went and looked at myself in the mirror and asked God silently if he was fucking happy with himself (I tried not to curse, Mom, I used dashes in the first paragraph but could not use dashes here). I didn't get an answer, but the guy, Jim (he introduced himself; two strangers in one bathroom stall would be unseemly), left, so I went back to the stall and did my business.

I so wanted to tell someone what had happened and not my little sister or a relative. I don't know why but I wanted a friend to share it with. There are several people at work I would like to have told, but I am not sure they would like to be told, or even know what to do with it. So I sucked it up. I do that a lot.

Finally, I went to aqua therapy and did more walking and exercising. I am growing more jealous Aquaman each time I go, and I bet he doesn't have to worry about falling in the bathroom. I can't even imagine there are toilets underwater.

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