In His Shoes
So I took Aidan’s power chair out for a test drive by myself. He was at school with a different chair and I wanted to see what life would be like from his perspective. I went to two big box stores, made purchases at both, and spoke to people at both. I recognize that this is a very limited social experiment but here’s what I learned.
Let’s start with this – I’m waaaay too UNskilled a driver to be driving as fast as I was and way too impatient to drive any slower. It’s nothing short of a miracle that no one got hurt. You may not have noticed, but it’s almost Christmas and the stores are
jamming their aisles with crap hawking their wares. I get that..more stuff to buy to bring the economy back. Garreth’s Christmas present was in the middle of a very tight cluster of display tables. I could totally come back later as a walking person and buy it, but that’s not what I was there for. Don’t ask me how I did it, but I somehow managed to get in and get out without toppling anything over. People were patient and friendly, waiting for me to get in doors and holding the doors open for me.
Here are two things that I feel like there’s really no excuse for: in a relatively new building (big box stores at strip malls) there should always be automatic doors, even if they’re the kind you have to push the button to open. While my very favorite store meets ADA requirements by having basically a door bell that calls for assistance, they have a heavy door. They also have very high countertops. I was able to make a purchase while being looked down upon and hoping that I was entering the right pin number into the machine that I could only sorta see. Kudos to Kohl’s for having both automatic doors and low checkout counters.
I sort of expected to experience those things. What I didn’t expect was how tired I would be at the end. Now, I hate shopping on a regular day, but my butt was so sore. I get that this chair wasn’t fitted for me, but you just can’t wiggle or stretch that much in a wheelchair. Are you about to say, “but people in wheelchairs can’t move/stretch/feel their legs anyway?” Remember, everyone’s different. Aidan is a walking boy who sometimes uses a wheelchair. This experience definitely made me more determined to keep him on his feet for his own strength and comfort, and I’m not just writing that so I get an A+ in physical therapy this week…even though I totally will.
For another great story about perspective and being in someone else’s shoes, read here about a woman who experiences seizures and was able to help her friend through a seizure.
Go forth and see the world in a different, probably more cluttered way.