Tuesday, February 13, 2007


“I will be getting around on my own in just a few days,” I said on the day after my shoulder broke.


“Too early to talk about that now,” said David.  “You can’t go out alone.  You can’t even stand up for more than a couple of minutes.”


He had a point.  I gave him that.


“I’ll soon be going out on my own,” I said when a week had gone by.  T

Here was no particular place I needed to go, but the thought that I could not do it was driving me to Cabin Fever.


“You can’t go out alone,” said David.  “What if somebody knocks against your shoulder?  “You won’t be able to stand the pain.”


He had a point.  I gave him that and grudgingly took a taxi when I went back to the office.


“I’m almost ready to go out on my own,” I said, after I had been back at work for a few days.  Sure it was below minus twenty out there with blowing snow and huge slippery drifts, bracing wind chill on top, conditions that would have sorely tempted me to take a taxi at any other time.  But Cabin Fever goes straight to the brain.


“You cannot go out alone,” said David.  “Think how terrible it would be if you fell!  You might be in a cast for weeks.  You might miss your trip to New York!”


He had a point.  I gave him that.  But then a temptation was placed in my path.  I was getting my teeth cleaned, and I had not ordered a cab or arranged a ride, not knowing exactly when the job would be finished.  The dental building had an indoor connection to the LRT platform.  The LRT exit was only a block and a half from my office, and I knew the university would have that path cleared and sanded.  I might have run the idea past David, but he simply wasn’t there. 


As a compromise to his objections, expressed in absentia, I promised to take no risks.  I walked very slowly.  I stopped at each door, carefully considering which hand to reach out, which hand to put in charge of holding the door.  And then, in a highly commendable display of self-discipline, I walked slowly down the stairs, even though the train was on the platform, even though I could have caught it.  I waved it a cheerful good-bye and stepped carefully on to the platform just as it began to pull away.  While I waited for the next train, I practised the speech I would give to David.  I would be humble, grateful for his loving protection.  I would explain that it is essential to move on, to push yourself, to achieve more than others think you can achieve. 


I was on the next train.  I got off at the right spot.  The university had cleared the path.  I walked slowly, slower than you ought to walk when it is minus twenty.  And when I had covered the first block, I became aware that my white cane seemed to be gaining weight.  Compact and light-weight at the journey’s beginning, it now hung heavy in my hand, heavier after each step, pulling hard on an upper arm muscle that had never announced itself on any past journey that I could remember.   


So I don’t think I will go out alone for a few more days, and I will grudgingly admit that David was right.  But he was wrong about the reason why I couldn’t.  He isn’t perfect, after all.

No comments: