Friday, October 17, 2008

Picking the right table...

I haven't done anything really productive today. Dad came by to drop off a pair of pants. Seeing him is always great. He touched up parts of my wall where the paint was peeling. We got to talk over coffee. I wheeled over to the subway with Dad and said goodbye. I missed Dad as soon as he was out of my sight. I still do.


The next best part of my day was seeing the Observer. Before this afternoon, it had almost been a week since we've seen each other. For us, that's a long time. We went to Swiss Chalet for dinner. Though I ate a bit too much, I enjoyed my dinner and hanging with the Observer. He's so cute. I asked the waitress for separate bills. I feel better going dutch. Equality is the modern way. Well, the bills took a long time coming and the Observer left the table to see what was taking so long - or so I thought. After a few minutes I saw another waitress pass ours a bill and nod. The Observer told me that the hostess was holding the door open. I knew he sneakily paid for me. He is one tricky guy. I am trying to be more gracious when it comes to accepting generosity - whether financial or a kind gesture. I opened my mouth to object, but remembered my new goal and thanked him. Accepting a kind gesture is hard, but the spirit of giving can be spoiled by an ungrateful recipient. I hope the Observer knows how much I appreciated my dinner with him...


Later, we went to Starbucks and had coffee. There is always a table designated for people who use wheelchairs. It's in a far corner and is wider than the others. It's unoccupied ninety nine percent of my visits there. Not tonight. A young lady was sipping a large beverage, nibbling a cookie and chatting on her cell phone. Her presence would have posed a bigger problem if it wasn't for the empty table beside her. I suggested the Observer go on ahead and order his frappuccino while I held the table. The Starbucks barista spotted me and inquired if she could ask the girl to move tables on our behalf. I shyly said, "No, it's alright. We can make due with this table." I hate making a scene or drawing attention to myself. I would rather quietly make due in less-than-ideal circumstances. The Observer came over to the table, muttering quietly about how he couldn't believe people could be so self absorbed. I ordered my coffee and returned to find the Observer sitting at the designated table. Something must have happened.



When it comes to space and accessibility, the Observer is sightly more outspoken than I. This difference is a positive one, I think. The Observer likes to have enough space to be comfortable in a public place and will speak up to ensure he finds it. I, on the other hand, would prefer to be squeezed into a corner than voice my disconnect. Don't get me wrong; I can speak my mind if I feel I must, especially when rights, privacy, care, safety or my loved ones are concerned. Any one of these issues get me fired up. Space and accessibility are not all that important to me. Doesn't that sound odd coming from a girl who uses a wheelchair? Maybe steps, curbs, small tables and tight corners are hurdles I simply let go. They are small challenges and life would be easier without them, but I am content to live with them. Yes, drinking coffee at a table where I can comfortably enjoy it matters to me, but it matters to anyone else who uses a wheelchair too, including the Observer. Part of me knows that someone in the same situation will speak up eventually. I realize this may sound like I am passing the buck or leaving the dirty work for others to clean up, which is probably true. After all, no one person can pick up all the garbage on the streets, can they?


After spending my life faced with many obstacles, I have come to understand that not every one is meant to be overcome. There are hurdles that are easy to navigate around without having to expend energy to jump right through them. I save my voice for issues that impact my personal life and the people in it, because if I fought every little battle, I would run out of swords. Maybe that's part of the reason the Observer and I found each other - so that together we can help each other enjoy every day and every cup of coffee to the last sip.

What could be better?

- OCG

1 comment:

THE OBSERVER said...

we make a gr8t team I Love you