“Excuse me,” says the little girl, shyly, fingering the rails of my grannywalker, “Are you really old? My great-grandma has a cage like that too, and she’s REALLY old.”
Don’t kids–the ones who survive the next five minutes, anyway–say the darnedest things?
It’s take-your-kid-to-work day, and my new mini-coworkers are endlessly fascinated with my mobility assist tools. Wherever I go in my grannywalker, a line of tiny feet patters after, their owners eagerly asking questions.
Obviously this small chicklette has vision issues–me, old?–so I move in closer and edge down to her level, to let her get a really good look at my youthful visage. “Nope,” I respond cheerfully,* “But I am a bit crippled right now, and this, uhm, cage, helps me walk without falling down.”
“Oh,” and her eyes grow dinnerplate-sized, “I guess you drink a lot. My uncle falls down when he walks too, whenever he drinks like a fish. He’s always thirsty. Daddy says his legs are even hollower than his brain.”
Uhm…let’s try again.
“No, this isn’t from drinking too much,” I begin, “I broke my leg, and now it’s getting fixed, but I still need this to help me walk right now…”
She gives the walker a skeptical glance. “Well, it’s not helping you much,” she observes, “Why doesn’t it give you a ride? Maybe you should ask to ride piggyback on somebody. My daddy gives me rides; maybe he’ll give you one, too.”
“He works in his office over there,” she points, “Know what? I’ll ask Daddy to give you a piggyback ride. Where do you want to go?”
Then she stops and gives me the once over. “Or maybe not,” she says, pensively, “You’re a lot bigger than me. I don’t think there would be room on Daddy. Maybe you should find a giant.”
Maybe I should get out of here before I commit smartasskidicide.
OK. Let’s reflect on what’s happening here: When you wear a wheelchair, kids ask for a ride. When you wear a walker, kids ask for a ride FOR you….because you look ooooooooooold. Decrepit. On your last legs. One foot in the grave, the other on a banana peel.
Good to know.
“I hate to say it, but that’s kinda true,” admits The Resident Carpenter later, “How many times have you seen young kids on a walker? But you always see old ladies using walkers.”
This is why we have friends, for reassurance. All of a sudden the cane is looking better and better.
Now accelerating my walker exit strategy…
* See? I can be cheerful even when I’m gritting my teeth.