Thursday, September 29, 2005

Observed Behavior in Seattle

I was walking along 3rd Ave. the other day when a small thing I observed made me smile. Since I spend so much time (not on this blog. Yet.) complaining about how the crazies in this city get to me (I've been screamed at, spit on, called the cops on a guy beating his girlfriend nearly to death while their 3-year-old son cowered against her stomach, etc. Not that this doesn't happen to everyone working downtown at some time or another) that I decided to start making note of things that delight me about living here.

So, I was standing at a crosswalk waiting for my light, next to a guy in a wheelchair. He had a huge red backpack strapped to the back of it. A guy with some sort of slavic accent asked the two of us where to pick up the 150 bus, and before I could open my mouth, Mr. Backpack gave him directions, kindly, in heavy Rasta-speak. Oh, yeah, and this whole time he was balanced on his back wheels and I was trying, first of all, not to stare, but also to figure out how the hell he balanced so perfectly - no jittery balancing movements, no quivering of arm muscles, nothing. Huh.

The light turned green and our Slavic friend shot off to find his bus, and the guy in the wheelchair rolled forward, still on his back wheels, bumped down into the crosswalk, front wheels never touching the ground, and zoomed to the opposite curb. And no curb ramp would do for him, nooo. Still popping a wheelie, he rolled right up to the edge of the curb, set the front wheels on the curb, and began trying to heave his back wheels up onto it as well. First try didn't work. And oh dear, Helpful Cerise took a half-step forward to help shove him up (look, I KNOW that if people want help they'll bloody well ask for it, but I'm one of those people who can't stand by, OK? I open doors for fully-grown men, OK??? It's dumb, I understand that...). Then I stopped, remembering that 1. he didn't ask me for help and 2. there were enough pedestrians in that crosswalk (and most of them closer to him than me) where we could probably roll him up the side of the building with a little collective effort. I was not needed here. Sure enough, one more heave and he was over. Another gentleman in a wheelchair was coming over from the other street and going up the ramp while this transpired. He laughed and gave the Rasta-man a victory sign, and the Rasta-man grinned and rolled down the sidewalk, pumping his fists in the air Rocky-style.

And I was smiling hugely, not only at this amazing-looking accomplishment (that the fella must do a hundred times a day), but also at my well-intentioned but foolish urges towards helping those that clearly don't need it, and at my gentle reminder from the cosmos that we are closer together than we think. I do love this city.



Blogger Aly H. said...

Ummmm...didn't you tell me you're not much of a writer?? This is A+++ storytelling, my dear friend. Snapshots of grace...

10/06/2005 7:15 PM  
Blogger Morphea said...

Well, uh...I'm hyperventilating here. Geez, Al, that's high praise coming from you.


10/07/2005 7:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, even the loony people have a unique beauty. Though I'm having trouble with the arms-slpayed speed-walking crack-heads.


10/19/2005 11:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forgive the spelling on splayed.

10/19/2005 11:43 PM  
Blogger Morphea said...

I won't argue about the crack-heads, darling. Ramon works in an area of downtown that, for reasons I know not, seems to attract large crowds of people who are either buying, selling, currently taking or trying to shake the habit of drugs. Makes for some very interesting encounters for him on a daily basis, poor man.

And thank you for visiting, my love. Don't worry about typos. God help me if anyone ever goes through the blog and lists mine. God help them, actually.


10/26/2005 9:01 AM  
Blogger introspectre said...

My ex is a musician, and had one 12 year old kid in a wheelchair that would show up at every show he could get his mom to take him to, and go out on the dancefloor and DANCE in his wheelchair, jamming back and forth, rocking the wheels alternately in time to the music, doing wheelies, spinning around.

It was transcendent to watch.

12/08/2005 1:52 PM  

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