Tuesday, November 29, 2005

things that change in an instant once you are missing a body part

I'm sure I could make a very long list of things that have changed now that I cruise around town with only one leg (I'm not currently wearing a prosthesis, so it's not something imperceptable). Most of the things that have changed are things any of you could guess, as they seem relatively obvious. But some are things I wouldn't have expected, some are just plain fascinating to me, and others are things I'm not particularly happy about having in my reality (but-whatcha-gonna-do).

* Identifying Features
This falls in the "not so happy having this be in my reality" category.
It drives me nuts to know that if you were sending someone to go find me amongst a room full of people, that it now only takes one sentence to describe me. "Oh, she's the lady with one leg." It used to take more than that. "Oh, she's brunette, about this tall...yaddayaddayadda..." I just cannot stand that having one leg is my primary identifying feature. (That's kinda funny. I can't STAND it. hahaha.)

When I was a kid, I remember my parents filling out a form they would keep on hand in case I ever went missing. It had a recent photo, my height, my weight, and any "identifying features". I have a little birthmark on my left cheek. THAT was my identifying feature if I were to turn up in the morgue.

No more need to hunt for a mole on my cheek, that's for sure.....although I was relating this to someone the other day, and he was very amused with himself, suggesting that TheMostImportantGuy in my life should still use that description. "Oh, my girlfriend?? She's the one over there--the brunette with the birthmark on her cheek." HA

* Homeless People Don't Ask Me For Money Anymore
This one falls under both "fascinating", and "I wouldn't have guess it".
People no longer ask me for handouts. It was a trip the first time I started to notice the silence. It's quite pleasant. And quite disturbing. Simultaneously.
But jeez, people, really. Like missing a leg means I'm poor?! Sheesh. (I mean, I AM basically poor, but how presumptious!)
And what's the deal? Is it that because I'm missing a body part, I'm now in some secret society, or something??? I mean homeless people now wink and say hello and call me "sister"! And I don't look homeless! (At least I don't THINK I look homeless....do I need a reality check and a makeover??)

Actually, I wouldn't say they don't EVER ask me...because they do. In fact, I was hit up for spare change once a couple of months ago. And right after he asked me, the guy looked down and saw my leg and APOLOGIZED because he didn't "see my condition".

Bell-ringers, outside a store collecting for a charitable organization, still ask me for money about 50% of the time. But the other half of the time they just "god bless" me.

I've thought about seeing what happens if I stood on a street corner with a "Need Help--Hungry" sign. Just as an experiment. And a free dinner. Seriously. I'll bet I'd rake in bucks. Sometimes I think I should carry an empty can in my backpack for certain occasions. Like recently--I was strolling Haight Street with TheMIG and he darted into bar to use the restroom, and I decided to wait outside. So there I was, sitting on the sidewalk in a wheelchair, with lots of foot traffic, and I was equally spaced between two characters asking for change. I bet if I had a can someone would have plopped something in it.


So it's a short list for now.
Just a beginning. I'll be adding on, I am sure.
But I wanted to get it rolling while I'm thinking of it...and who knows. Maybe some other gimp will read this and share.


Anonymous said...

Oh, yes, I have been planning to write about this, too, but you beat me to it! heh heh Actually, my next post, right after fixing the squeaky knee and driving, was going to be on projection, on the different things people project onto us once they see how we are shaped.

Sometime this week, I hope to get to all that, but no promises. (I didn't make a single post in the month of November, even though I started a couple. Too busy!) And of course, I will link back to this. :)