Hi, my name is Jon. Yes, I hurt my leg — considering I’m hobbling around with a crutch, your powers of observation are astounding! No I didn’t “strain my ankle” or “fall down.” I was hit by a car. Yes, I was on my motorbike, but that look that says “well then you must have deserved it” is not reasonable. It was an old lady, not wearing her glasses, making a turn onto a road that wasn’t there, then stomping on the gas when she saw me. That can’t have been my fault no matter what form of transportation I was using.
Thank you for noticing, and drawing attention to my discomfort, however, I’m not interested in your pity or sympathy; do not try to pull the backpack off my back to “help me out.” If you could avoid slamming doors in my face, cutting me off on the sidewalk, jumping in front of me when I’m trying to negotiate the escalator, or walking directly toward me then moving over at the last minute leaving me not-quite-enough-space to stay upright without clawing for the wall, that would be all the help I need.
Yes, I have a temporary disability, does that make me only temporarily sub-human? What about those who are more permanently affected? Do they ever get to be treated normally again? Please don’t kill yourself trying to treat us like broken toys; please don’t kill us in your hurry to get around or away from us. That, and wheelchair accessible entrances that are actually wheelchair accessible would be plenty, thanks.

Air rage

About 26 hours ago I sat down at my departure gate at the Toronto airport, feeling good about having successfully used a parking service that got me right to the door with having to hobble from the parking garage, and excited for my trip to Seattle. Today I’m in a different airport, but on the same coast – in fact, in the same time zone – still trying to get to Seattle.

Yesterday’s flight crew from Toronto to Detroit (my usual stop-over connection) didn’t show up… maybe at all, maybe just too late to be of any use to anyone. I crashed in a hotel near the airport to try again in the morning, this time stopping over in New York at JFK. That’s where I’ve been since about noon, as the plane they had us on was determined to be unfit for travel – after we’d been sitting on it for an hour.

I won’t say what airline – yet – because this is not the track record I’ve known them for. However, the last 4 coast-to-coast flights I’ve flown with them have been delayed due to maintenance issues, and with Gold status and more than 60,000 miles flown in the past 12 months, I’m expecting them to rectify this and restore my trust. If they don’t, then I’ll go back and put in their name! So far the delays have cost my travel budget nearly $1000 in re-booking, no-show fees, parking and the hotel last night. Personally I’m out over $150 in cash and rewards points used for the unexpected hotel stay.

Add to this the fact that I’m hobbling around on a bum leg, from gate to gate, as they try to adjust to the problems – and yes, I’m taking advantage of wheelchair service whenever its prudent/possible – and I’m one grumpy traveller. And I like travel – imagine if I were someone who didn’t like this to begin with!

This weekend two good friends got married. One new one, on the west coast, the other an old friend a little closer to home. The kids were the flower girl and ring bearer in the latter. They were very cute, but despite everyone’s comments about how well-behaved they were, it was a long day. I alternated, every two minutes or so, between bribing, threatening and pleading with them to behave, be quiet, sit still, not run out into the parking lot, not stand in front of the head table and tell stories… We do have good kids, its just that formal ceremonies are not a natural fit for a 4 and 3 year old. Dancing, however, is. Ben rocked the dance floor – at one point he was in the middle of the circle, and all the guys were copying his moves. He was in his glory, and hopefully for the next wedding, that’ll be incentive to hang in there until the end. Abi, being a little more timid took turns dancing and cowering in fear from the dancing. I did a little with her – not that I’m a good dancer, even with two working legs!

Nicole and I “celebrated” our 31st birthdays this week. The quotes are because we didn’t really celebrate them. They just kind of happened while we were trying to keep up with life. Oh well, I gather it stops getting better at 30 anyway. Certainly my body is fairly convincingly communicating that my best years are behind me… Here’s to another 40-50 years of sliding, unremarkably, down hill.

At least I can take some of my impotent frustration out on my airline’s customer service department…

Everyday I'm Shuffling

Every time I go in to physio, I try to have a new trick to show off. Monday I showed her that I could walk without “Das Boot” (the walking cast) so she took it away. Which was totally fine with me. Walking without it is scary, but I was hoping to be a little farther along by this point. Getting the OK to walk on Monday has given me almost a week to practice up, stretch out and get my strength up for my first business trip since the accident. Its still a slow, uncomfortable process, but I’m getting stronger every day.
Sunday I fly out to L.A., equipped only with a cane …and pre-booked airport assistance …and an expense account for cab fare. Its a big conference, stretched out across two large venues and a number of nearby hotels. There will lots of standing in lines, rushing to meetings in different hotels, receptions and parties that will be mostly standing room only, etc. Definitely it’ll be a challenge, but fortunately, most of the activities are optional, so any time I’ve had enough I can retreat to my hotel and crash.
Even so, I am pumped to go. I can’t wait to get back to my professional life and my career and my partners… not to mention back in the air. Man, I love travel!
Eli is settling in well to the family’s routine, and we even got away totally kid-free for a date night last night. I found some work space, and some stuff to keep me busy outside the house, so Nic’s able to get back to her life with only the three needy dependants again too! Another few weeks, and we’ll be back to normal again — at least as close to normal as we were before!