Monday, June 10, 2013

Grate day.

We survived the first week of summer. And that's no small feat. It takes a lot of logistics to make that happen. I forget how tiring it is to care for Maggie when she's not in school. Oh we have fun together, but I do a ton more lifting and car transfers when she's on vacation from school and it is physically exhausting. Especially if you go out too fast. It's a marathon and you have to pace yourself.

I overdid it on Day 1 with about four separate stops, meaning four different transfers etc, and we did progressively less and less as the week went on. Rookie mistake. I should know better. But it takes a few days to get the logistics just right.

There are logistics in every thing I do. I have to think about the entire day, and be as efficient as possible with outings, parking etc. Once that's done I have to carefully plan my attack or getting into a place and being able to use the suction machine and find things in my purse all at the same time. Every move needs to be considered in advance. Sometimes even then things go awry.

On Thursday morning,  I was bound and determined to get some packages mailed that have been sitting here forever. Maggie was greatly entertained as I taped them shut, one with a LOT of tape as it was in a box just a wee bit to small for its contents. Feeling accomplished we headed for the post office on our way down to the main library at Civic Center.

There is no place to park the van at our post office. It is on a  very busy corner. There are several spaces on the hill on the side of the building, but 1) they are on a hill which is very difficult for unloading and 2) none of them have sufficient space for the ramp. The few spaces in front are flat, but they are reserved for postal vehicles in the morning. There was room just across the street.

I parked the van, unloaded Maggie, put my two packages under my arm and felt very pleased with myself. Funny how satisfying it is to get things in the mail, even when as here, I had delayed it for several weeks.  I held the wheelchair with one hand and carried the two packages with the other hand.

Sadly, the curb cutout for the wheelchair at that particular corner is too steep. Generally they wouldn't be a huge problem as I would have two hands on the chair. But this time it was. I had to be very careful or Maggie would shoot onto Geary Street with its six lanes of traffic whooshing by. I carefully and slowly went down the too steep ramp without losing control of the chair. Excellent. Unfortunately, a container of her food fell out of the bag onto the street. I had to pick it up, but both hands were full. I carefully placed Maggie's wheel against the curb. God forbid I actually put down the packages.

As I bent down to get the food, balancing the packages all the while, Maggie rolled just a couple of inches. No problem. She was against the curb, she couldn't go far and could not possibly go into traffic. She was just slowly moving along the edge of the curb. Out of the corner of my eye I saw her front wheel heading for the sewer grate. I tried to stop it, but too late. The wheel fit perfectly into the grate. I tried to tilt her chair back and the new rocker back we finally got did just that - rocked. Maggie was laughing her head off. I put the packages on the curb, stood on the sewer grate and lifted the front of her chair with all my might.

Free at Last, Free at Last.

I saw a woman sitting in her car watching this whole thing unfold with a look of horror/pity on her face. She was sitting at the traffic light waiting for it to change and I had to cross right in front of her. I tried to look as self satisfied as I felt 5 minutes earlier with my packages under one arm and pushing the wheelchair with the other, but the veneer had peeled away and I was exposed for the fraud that I am. I didn't want to see her pitying look, so I stared straight ahead.

Maggie of course  gave her the homecoming queen wave as we passed, though. She was having a ball.

We did head down to civic center after that.  I wanted to go into City Hall and talk to someone about that curb cut, but I just didn't have the energy. I settled for  a picture of Maggie with the magnificent City Hall behind her.

1 comment:

  1. I think you should consider writing a travel guide for wheelchair users in San Francisco -- you could have one chapter devoted purely to black-humored people with stories like this one.


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