Some Things Suck
While on a trip to Mexico with Fred to celebrate my 70th birthday, I was walking down a cobblestone street and landed squarely on my butt. Hard. I am happy to report after returning home and seeing an orthopedist that the injury, while quite painful, is on the mend and no surgery will be required to fix it, just a few weeks with a walker and I will be as good as new. The pain is now lessening and I am reminding myself that this
setback, while it really sucked, is temporary.
I really learned some things about myself (and others) after this crash landing in the street. The most intense learning came from my wheelchair-at-the-airport experience. Fred had called American Airlines to arrange wheelchairs for me in the San Miguel, Dallas, and Nashville airports for our return flights home. I had never envisioned myself as the lady in a wheelchair at the airport, but there I was. I had made a special effort to put on good makeup and do my hair because I knew the wheelchair would be an extremely depressing accessory and I have always been aware that the better I look, the better I feel.
There is a lot to see about other people from the eye level of a wheelchair. Some people actually make eye contact and smile. Some people focus on looking very much away. There are those who decide that since they are more mobile than you are they have a perfect right to rush in front of you and cut in line. And there are some people who are really, really kind and ask if they can help. When you are in a situation where you do need help this offer is welcome, not patronizing. If you have never tried to navigate a wheelchair into the curvy portal of an airport restroom, get it into the handicapped stall, get out of it, do your business, and then repeat–Okay, let’s put it this way–Have you ever tried to parallel park a trailer on the back of a car? About the same skill set is required. There was a lady in the restroom in Dallas who totally took me under her wing. She helped me get the contraption in the stall and waited outside to help me get out. Bless her. Seriously. I hope she wins the karma lottery.
But, the capper experience of the day was the TSA agent in Dallas who confronted me at security. I have never, and I mean never, experienced such a thorough and thoroughly ridiculous body search. Talk about profiling–it felt like they had issued a memo to be on the look out for middle-aged blondes in wheelchairs. This was made even more ridiculous by the fact that I was wearing tight leggings and a fitted tee shirt. The only way a bomb on my person could have been revealed would have been by a cavity check. At the end she actually said,in her professional but perky way, “Now that wasn’t so bad, was it?” What a set up for me to (figuratively) explode. I just told her I really couldn’t discuss what I thought about it. At which point she dropped her stupid grin and backed away as though she was afraid I might detonate the explosives that were carefully concealed in my lady parts.
Our plane was met by a very nice man with a wheelchair for me when we arrived in Nashville and hopefully, that will be my last wheelchair-in-the-airport experience. But, I guarantee that from now on I will be the person who tries to help, and the person who makes eye contact and smiles. Life is great, but it can be hard.