Every day, I take my 11 pound dog for a walk. On this day, it was particularly cold and the usual hour long sniffing adventure turned into an immediate squat. She soon took care of her business and the work began. This requires the most work because, on a scooter, it takes taking off my gloves, getting the poop bags out of my jacket, opening up the almost vacuum packed seal (who makes these stupid things?) and positioning the scooter so I can bend over with the bag over hand.
Usually I turn off the power of the scooter to be safe, but today for some reason, I forgot. I placed the leash on the handle bar which sits right beside the power button and the accelerator of the scooter. Of course the wedging of the leash on the handle without turning off the power caused the scooter to move.
So backward I went. As I scrambled to get the leash off and turn off the power button, I began to slowly spin backward. I whizzed by a parking meter, spun in another circle and began my descent down the hill beside the road. I straddled the seat and placed my feet on the ground in case I fell off and the scooter got away from me. All this and I had to hold on to my dog too.
Crap! This scooter has a mind of its own!
Finally, I yanked the leash off the handle and hit the power button, off.
After a few breaths and a giggle, I powered the scooter back on and got onto the sidewalk. My dog, acting as if nothing happened, rose up her nose to the sky and together we moved toward more grass patches along the road outside our condo community.
Many times I have found myself in the last few years being confronted by these words.
"Do you need help?"
The irony is, I am just standing still or sitting on my scooter waiting to pass by or limp my way to a destination. And, ironically, I never heard these words in my prior 18 years, when I was able to hide my mobility challenges.
So it got me thinking… why do people say this? In most exchanges, a person asks for help and help may or may not be given. The point is, I never asked. If a person is, just like us all, rolling along getting from point A to point B in a device, does one automatically assume help is needed? In my moments of frustration, I think I am a person who was just like you, only 24 months ago, walking around with ease. It is only recently, that I can no longer hide, but I have never been embarrassed by it. I just know, 99 out of 100 people are just thinking of themselves. So I never mentioned it. I think of the many individuals who have been dealing with mobility issues their whole life, recently, or are just noticing a change. It could be much worse, and in my case as well as many others, it just happened. We must see people are people no matter what package they come in. Shit happens.
I see myself as just another fish in the pond, which just happens to swim with special fins. On land, I am wishing for wings, but until technology evolves, we are all getting to our destinations at our own speed, so why not just smile or just say…”hello.”
Has anyone else had this experience too?