Monday, January 11, 2016

Encounter with a Curious Stranger


I was doing grocery shopping one time, and this little boy spotted me, chased me down the aisle and scanned me from head to toe. I tried to ignore him and pretended like I was indecisive about my salad dressing. "Aren't you too old to sit in a stroller?" It was definitely a rhetorical question. "No offense taken." I said. The kid stumbled away with his newly acquired balance. Wow, a little judgmental for a kiddo that had just started on solid diet.

There was another time, I was in line at Burger King. I heard a tiny voice coming from behind:" Dad, what is that?" Here we go again, I was too familiar with the sound of sweet and pure curiosity. "Dad, what's that?" She asked again when her Dad totally tried to avoid the question. Ideally, I should be the one who turns to her and "explain for myself", but maybe I was too hungry, too tired or was having a low-self-esteem day.  I was pretending like I was indecisive about what to order. "Dad! Dad!" She wasn't going to let go. This was a kid that would put anything in her mouth to explore the world. "It's a wheelchair." He said. "What's a wheelchair Dad?" "Errr, a chair that has wheels?" "Why is she in a wheelchair?" The level of awkwardness bounced to another dimension. "Errr . . . " Common, common, can fast food come any faster?! "NEXT!" thank-you!

Recently, I joined my local YMCA and there were a whole bunch of "those things" running and swimming around me. In order to accommodate me, the facility got a lift to help me get in and out of the water. With the help of gravity, getting into the water was easy and peasy. However, coming out of the pool was a chore. I weigh quite significantly soaking wet, it'd take a good 60 seconds for the lift to rise out of the water and swing me back to my wheelchair. I became a local attraction. Everyone wanted to see "how it's done".  Then, a shoal of those things swam by and suffocated me from all directions. I felt like I was sitting on an electric chair. "Wow, what is this thing?" "Oh, oh, can I ride it next plz?" There was a little boy that shouted: "Oh, I know it's for people in wheelchair." I threw a dirty glare at him. "Oh sorry, I meant wheelchair people. . . no, no . . . " He was trying to find a "politically correct" term, actually I don't even know how to say it in a bad-ass way. He thought about it for seconds, still couldn't come up with another term, then he strategically ducked away.

Though it sounds like it, I have no problem enduring a few seconds of lowliness imposed by those cute and innocent things. I mean, comparing to the adults who have the curiosity of a child. . . That's another story.

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