…and the WORST Thing Is…
I wasn’t really up to writing about this yesterday. But the worst thing about my little trial at independence yesterday is — I thought I could do it.
It didn’t take long for us to realize — I can’t.
If going to and from Bethesda were a simple matter of getting on an empty train, walking through an empty Union Station down to an empty Metro platform to get onto an empty Metro train, taking me to an empty Medical Center station where I could ride an empty elevator to the surface and get a seat on an empty shuttle bus… no problem!
But that ain’t gonna happen.
For one thing, tourist season has begun. The trains are going to be jammed with Federal Workers and tourists. When the MARC train lets off at Union Station, there will be people to the right and left of me, all hurrying to get by me. I freeze when I’m surprised by someone coming up along side me. And if I freeze with someone right BEHIND me, I’m gonna get knocked down. I would have to fight my way through the crowd to the Metro platform, through the crowd to get on a train and hope that there’s a kind soul who will get out of the handicapped-reserved seat and let me sit. That doesn’t always happen. Then I would have to fight my way through the crowd that gets off at Medical Center, folks in a hurry to get to work. Then I would have to make my way to the shuttle bus stop and hope not to be shoved and trampled by folks looking to get a seat on the shuttle.
Same thing, in reverse, on the way home.
Gail and I had gone to the Big and Tall store at Columbia Mall yesterday. There was nothing I was interested in getting, so I sat on a seat outside the store. We made our way from the store to the Penny’s store to look for a cappuccino maker, and along the way I froze as people came up from behind me and passed on my left or right. I froze when people crossed in front of me. Sometimes, I just froze for no apparent reason.
“Yeah, you’re gonna do real well on Wednesday,” Gail said.
Those words cut right through the cockiness. We made our way to the food court. Gail got Chinese, I got McDonalds. And as I started eating, the tears of frustration started flowing.
It’s hard — so fucking hard — to admit to myself that there are things I just can not do anymore. And traveling by myself through crowded areas is one of those things. I had been feeling so self-assured since finishing up that first round of physical therapy. But increasing my stride means nothing when I’m still going to freeze whenever something unexpected happens and surprises me.
I just can’t do it safely. And it’s a tough thing to face.