I went to an interview type thing today.  This involved wearing something that isn’t a sweatshirt and getting on the bus.

Now, regular readers will know that I am newish to this city.  And not the best with directions.  I travel with people so I don’t get lost.  I choose not to get lost.  I choose to have a PA, or Sarge, with me when I don’t know where I’m going, or even when I do.

I do go places on my own.  These days, such places must be seen from my flat windows.  If I can see it, I know how to get back.  I am not confined to my house, or my chair.  Nor am I afraid of the world.  Quite the opposite.

It’s just that more often than not, the world is physically inaccessible to someone on wheels.  And therefore, I choose to have someone help me with steps and traffic and buses that don’t stop, even when I have hit the stop siren.  Because I want to get off the bus.  Maybe I have an interview to go to, or the rest of my life to get on with.

I should say at this point that as well as a people-watcher, I am an eavesdropper.  And sometimes I hear strangers talking about me.  If people feel the need to voice their opinions and pass judgement on me, the least I can do is remember it to record later.  Perhaps on a blog.

This is what I heard on the bus today:

Lady (term used loosely) 1:  Is she on her own?

Lady 2:  No, of course not.  How could she be?  That other one is in charge of her.

Excuse me?  The only one in charge of me is me.  Just because I choose to have someone with me does not mean I am not in charge of myself.  It isn’t my fault that the world is inaccessible to my wheels.  The wheels I need to live my life.  The life that I am in charge of.

I wanted to wave my CV in these ladies’ faces.  Because I happened to have it with me.

Hey girls, see these Universities?  These offices?  That’s where I’ve been.  All by myself.  Uphill both ways, to use your lingo.

But I didn’t.  I learned from a young age to pick my battles.  Because I’ve had more of them to pick from.

I used to tell people I fell off the back of a motorcycle.  The people who would look at me walk and then ask my parents what was wrong with me.

Nothing, they’d say.

And then I would tell them I fell of the back of a bike.  It’s not that I’m ashamed of the CP, but when I was younger I liked to watch people’s faces as they tried to picture a kid on a motorcycle.

Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer.

When I was about 7, I was walking up the incline in a movie theatre, in front of these whispering old ladies (not unlike the ones on the bus today); who must have thought it was interesting to see this not-too-short person walking with crutches.  And I fell.  On purpose.  It was perfect, as if in slow motion.  I fell backwards and made it look like I hit my head, which I didn’t.  All of a sudden these three faces were staring down at me, and I smiled.  I got myself up and went out with my Dad, who till then wasn’t sure what I was doing.  Behind me I heard:  See Barb, I told you she was going to fall!

I turned and said:  And I heard you, too.

I said no such thing today, just got off the bus and on with my life.  Laughed about it, even.

I’m even allowed to write about it.  Because I said so.  And I’m in charge.

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