detail , hand, painted wool flannel



We, Santa Feans get a bit of a break this time of year as nothing special is happening! No fiesta or art extravaganza or world balloon convention or pet parade or low-rider popping on the plaza to draw thousands of non-residents in search of some life enhancement that isn’t a pill.

For me this means an east roll downtown without the usual tourist human obstacles needing to touch Emma; suffering as they are away from the dogs they had to leave at home.

People are a problem.

I have magic boundary-enforcing tools.

My hat is one.

I can pretty much feel from half a block away that I am approaching someone in the heat of withdrawal; needing a dog fix NOW GODDAMMIT.

It is always the same…We see one another..their pace quickens as a laser intent carves into my sensitive skin.

We get closer to one another and about 10′ away I drop the wide brim of my hat and cut off access to my precious energy reserves (as an Emma pet can turn into a 15 minute convo).

I quietly roll by a disappointed fellow human.

A recent evening rollabout found me downtown enjoying the crisp seasonal turn.

My wheelchair controls are on my right side. My arm is slightly lifted off the armrest as I maneuver. Emma sticks her head in the space between arm and armrest.

All of a sudden just outside my sight range I feel a hand trying to pet Emma.

I made some sort of primal sound as a man cooed and petted innocent Emma.

Just like that it was over as the couple crossed the street with the light.

I realized I was in shock having the uninvited surprise touch of that tender and intimate spot between breast and underarm. It woke up old memories I’d rather forget.

I sped down the walkway and caught up with them.

“Sir? It is always a good idea to ask if you can touch someone elses’ dog. You scared me.”

I rolled away and left him with that.

I thought about entitlement; the fact that little scenario would never have happened were I male.

I was proud of myself for addressing the issue in the moment so I could leave it there and not add to my baggage. I could feel that what I said and how I said it and the fact he was with his lady friend meant there would be life in my words beyond where I said them.


4 Responses to “Vulnerability”

  1. Irene on October 16th, 2019
  2. Jenny on October 16th, 2019

    Oh yes you should feel proud, well done. WELL DONE! Xxx

  3. Jane on October 18th, 2019

    Thank you. I am keeping your story to share when I teach.

  4. Michelle Potenzone on November 9th, 2019

    Oh no! I never realized this is an issue! Thank you so much for bringing this up! I will make sure to do my part to bring awareness! I’ve worked in hospitals for a good part of my career life and have always instinctually known not to help without asking. Not everyone needs or wants help while others, like me, don’t want the attention that comes when others draw attention and/or make a scene. I don’t know if people subconsciously or unconsciously seek accolades for going out of their way to help. Maybe because I don’t like being randomly touched or my things being touched. Many people don’t treat property with respect, let alone other people.
    I walk with a cane now for balance and gait issues as I try to patiently wait for a diagnosis. This new awareness is very troubling to me!
    Please forgive me if I’ve made any errors in my spelling because I have a new diagnosis of convergence insufficiency which has negatively affected my vision to the point that I can only read/write for short periods of time before it doubles. It has been a drag because I’ve always loved to read and write. Your positive perspective has helped me tremendously this morning! Would you consider audible posts to be included in your blog for those of us with visual impairements? If there is additional cost or aggravation for you, please disregard my request. I will happily read as much as I can with gratitude that I can still see!

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