This is me, standing on the I5 overpass near work, taking a picture of cars zipping away down the road.
I walked there, all by myself, because it was a lot faster than driving. Holy hell. I WALKED there. Do you understand the significance of that statement?
The car needed its 30,000 mile checkup this morning. Travis-the-blueteam leader took SherryBaby’s keyfob thingee, ticked off all the things they’d be doing to her, and informed me that I’d just missed the courtesy shuttle that would have driven me to the office. The next one wouldn’t leave for an hour.
“Shall I put you on the waiting list for the next one?” he asked, eyeing the handicapped parking sticker in SherryBaby’s window.
It’s all of six blocks from the dealership to my office on a lovely, crisp fall day. I wouldn’t mind picking up some acorns and other seed pods along the way.
“No thanks,” I said, “I’ll walk.”
I set off with my cane, sending a message to my work team that I’d be a bit late. “Are you sure?” they asked anxiously, “We can come get you.”
Nope. I needed to do this. I needed to be unthinkingly mobile.
If you haven’t had something like knee replacement surgery, you probably don’t understand what I mean. The idea of simply choosing to make an unplanned journey on your own two legs, because it’s the FASTEST, EASIEST way to get somewhere, is an incredibly big deal for folk like me.
I stepped off the overpass, walked the long blocks surrounding my company’s campus, and wandered, eyes down, scanning for acorns and seed pods. I stooped, picked up and examined stuff, put it in my pockets. Scaled the uneven hillocks and climbed tree stumps and roots, poked my mostly unnecessary cane into intriguing holes, looking for possibilities and never worrying about the price I’d pay in pain.
Days after this was written, I still have only a teensy bit of swelling and ache. It’s like I’ve escaped from prison. I wonder if Surgical Dude (known forever more as The Doc) and Sandra and the rest of that team, really understand how truly life-changing this is. They must walk around, every day, with smiles and smiles.
(BTW, I’ll incorporate my finds into a moldmaking project you’re about to see in my next glass tutorial.)
This is me, smiling. What you don’t see are the tears I’m crying, as the significance of my short ramble dawns:
I am strolling. For BLOCKS. Over uneven ground. I’m not worried about falling. This is NOT what bad-knee people do. If they did, they’d be unable to move, maxed out on pain meds and anti-inflammatories, wrapped in ice and regret, for days after.
But I’m not one of them anymore.
When I WALK back to pick up my car tonight, that handicap sticker goes in the glovebox. Forever.*
*OK, so I didn’t walk back to pick up my car that night. Shelby kindly offered to drive me over, and I accepted. I might be unthinkingly mobile and all, but no point in overdoing it. And I’m smart enough to take advantage of a kind offer.
But I still stuck the handicap sticker in the glovebox, and these days I’m parking in the regular spaces with everyone else.