I had an unbelievable bus ride one beautiful crisp day this past January. Earlier that morning I had taken the door-to-door lift bus to downtown. I met a friend to see a movie. I was unsure how much time she had to give me, so I planned on taking the city bus home. It was my last chance to spend time with Sanne before she left for her home in Germany. If she had five hours to hang out with me, which she did, I wasn’t about to tell her, “Oh darn, Sanne, I can’t stay that long, because I have a ride taking me home in three hours.”
Needless to say, that when I started my treck home, I was expecting a nice quiet bus ride home while I took a few minutes to wallow in the grief of not being able to see Sanne in person for a long time! The bus pulled up to the stop, and I prepared to get on.
There was a man sitting in the accessible seating with his leg in a splint. I heard the bus driver tell him he should get up while I parked. The man accepted the advice. Parking a power chair on a public city bus is no easy task Sometimes people just will not give me the room I need to get turned around and safely park. I figure they think if I am driving, I must know what I am doing. If that’s the case, then I like their logic. However, there are other times in which my fellow passengers can not run out of my way fast enough. When they run like that I know they probably have been ran over by someone driving a power chair. I try not to let it bother me, I guess I would stay clear of power chairs, too if I had been run over by one once. However, sometimes I feel like pointing out that not everyone who drives a power chair should be judged as a bad driver!
After I was settled on the bus for a nice long ride home, I was ready to do some reflecting on the day. However, I never got the chance because the guy with the splint started talking to me. He asked me about my communication device. He understood immediately that the Pathfinder is meant to help communication flow. HALLELUJAH! You would be shocked to find out that many people think the box which is usually in front of me, is some game board.
After that the man kept peppering me with questions. He was patient with me while I composed my answers. It was a full bus, so there was another man standing beside me. This guy was reading over my shoulder and trying to predict what word I would type next. I wanted to tell him that was a very juvenile thing to do, but I held my tongue. When there was a lull in the questioning, I decided to question the man grilling me. I asked him his name. His told me it is Darrell. The man standing piped up and said that was his name as well. They both discussed it, and discovered that they are spelled the same way.
I went on to ask the number one Darrell what he did for work. He said he worked in an adult care home. I asked him what he did for fun. Darrell said he liked playing computer games. He asked me if I had any pets. I said I had a dog and cat. I inquired if he had any pets. He said he had a cat and its name was Snookems. Darrell number two’s mouth fell open, and he announced that was his first cat’s name. He went on to state that if Darrell number one got off at the same bus stop he did, it would cause him a sense of alarm. Everyone within hearing distance cracked up laughing.
Before the two discovered they had cats with the same name, I was in the process of telling a little story about Donka. I was typing, “I have a window above my bed. In the morning my cat has gotten up there, and she has –-”. ” I had stopped to listen to the two Darrells converse, and was laughing with the others, when I heard someone say, “and she has?” There was another man sitting in the accessible seat directly in front of me. I had seen him reading over the top of the Pathfinder’s screen as I typed. I looked at him quizzically for a second, he looked at the screen, then I looked at the screen, and I realized that he wanted me to finish telling my story. Wow, some perfect stranger wanted to hear the rest of my story!
Since I didn’t know how long any of the people were going to be on the bus, I decided to keep my story brief. I quickly went to work typing on the Pathfinder. I simply stated, “pounces on my head.” If time was not such a factor on this fleeting bus ride, I would have loved to have beefed the story up by adding. “When Donka was finished surveying the scene outside, she will pounce on my head if I am not awake enough to hear her soft meow and roll over so she can land on my pillow instead of my head.” Now those guys probably think I don’t know how to tell a good story!
I loved being apart of this spontaneous bus conversation! It was a rare opportunity and treat to find myself immersed in a three-way exchange. Normally I just stick to one on one chats with another person, because it’s hard to join the flow of a group discussion. I can not blurt out my thoughts like most people. Instead I have to break eye contact and type my comments on to my communication device so that it can translate for me. By the time I finish typing my thoughts, normally the conversation has zoomed on to a different topic. A lot of the time, I will let my thoughts go unheard. However, I’m starting to back people up a bit, and say I would like to make a comment about such and such, then say my piece. People are genuinely happy when I speak up!
My fellow bus mates and I have been blessed that we have connected on a level higher than “Hello!” Another prayer of mine had been answered,. Three more people and a handful of eavesdroppers know that my communication device works, and maybe they will spread the knowledge around.
Posted at 2:33 PM by firstname.lastname@example.org