I went to an interview type thing today. This involved wearing something that isn’t a sweatshirt and getting on the bus.
Now, regular readers will know that I am newish to this city. And not the best with directions. I travel with people so I don’t get lost. I choose not to get lost. I choose to have a PA, or Sarge, with me when I don’t know where I’m going, or even when I do.
I do go places on my own. These days, such places must be seen from my flat windows. If I can see it, I know how to get back. I am not confined to my house, or my chair. Nor am I afraid of the world. Quite the opposite.
It’s just that more often than not, the world is physically inaccessible to someone on wheels. And therefore, I choose to have someone help me with steps and traffic and buses that don’t stop, even when I have hit the stop siren. Because I want to get off the bus. Maybe I have an interview to go to, or the rest of my life to get on with.
I should say at this point that as well as a people-watcher, I am an eavesdropper. And sometimes I hear strangers talking about me. If people feel the need to voice their opinions and pass judgement on me, the least I can do is remember it to record later. Perhaps on a blog.
This is what I heard on the bus today:
Lady (term used loosely) 1: Is she on her own?
Lady 2: No, of course not. How could she be? That other one is in charge of her.
Excuse me? The only one in charge of me is me. Just because I choose to have someone with me does not mean I am not in charge of myself. It isn’t my fault that the world is inaccessible to my wheels. The wheels I need to live my life. The life that I am in charge of.
I wanted to wave my CV in these ladies’ faces. Because I happened to have it with me.
Hey girls, see these Universities? These offices? That’s where I’ve been. All by myself. Uphill both ways, to use your lingo.
But I didn’t. I learned from a young age to pick my battles. Because I’ve had more of them to pick from.
I used to tell people I fell off the back of a motorcycle. The people who would look at me walk and then ask my parents what was wrong with me.
Nothing, they’d say.
And then I would tell them I fell of the back of a bike. It’s not that I’m ashamed of the CP, but when I was younger I liked to watch people’s faces as they tried to picture a kid on a motorcycle.
Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer.
When I was about 7, I was walking up the incline in a movie theatre, in front of these whispering old ladies (not unlike the ones on the bus today); who must have thought it was interesting to see this not-too-short person walking with crutches. And I fell. On purpose. It was perfect, as if in slow motion. I fell backwards and made it look like I hit my head, which I didn’t. All of a sudden these three faces were staring down at me, and I smiled. I got myself up and went out with my Dad, who till then wasn’t sure what I was doing. Behind me I heard: See Barb, I told you she was going to fall!
I turned and said: And I heard you, too.
I said no such thing today, just got off the bus and on with my life. Laughed about it, even.
I’m even allowed to write about it. Because I said so. And I’m in charge.