|Behold, The Cane of Awesomeness!|
Based on things I'd heard and other blogs I read (primarily the awesome Renee over at Womanist Musings) I attempted to mentally prepare myself for all the strange looks, nasty comments, and general nosiness that comes with an otherwise seemingly healthy relatively young (age 31) person gets when they start using mobility aids.
What motivated me to get TCOA was the Texas State University-San Marcos Campus. There are so many hills, inclines, and stairs on that campus that, even with the few railings available, I was in excruciating pain by the time I got home after class each Monday and Wednesday. I had a particularly dreadful Monday last week, and by Wednesday I had TCOA.
Now, I prepared myself for curious questions from my classmates. After all, they had just seen me on Monday with no cane. Many of them were genuinely concerned for my health and wanted to assist me in any way possible, so I was happy to answer their questions openly and honestly. A simple "My fibromyalgia is really acting up," followed by a brief explanation of fibro if necessary, was more than enough to explain.
Today, I was in search of some sort of carrying apparatus for Princess Cutie Utie that could possibly attach to TCOA. I wanted to make sure she could represent her fellow uteri both at the Bowl-A-Thon this weekend (donate here if you want) and at the War on Women Rally on April 28. My first stop was at the Paper Bear, which usually has very interesting and unique items.
As I was looking around, a lady said "I like your cane."
Me (kind of surprised): "Oh thank you."
Lady: "It's much nicer than mine. That's why mine is out in the car."
Me: "Oh really? I just got this one at the CVS over by Wal-mart."
Lady: "Really?? It looks so comfortable for something you'd get at CVS!"
Me: "I know, right? The handle is super comfy."
Lady: "It is just so cute...I might go check those out!"
So that was a nice, positive exchange I had with a total stranger about my cane. I thought maybe having TCOA wouldn't be so bad.
And then, after finding a super cute carrying apparatus for Cutie Utie at Bada Bling, I was walking back to my car. The sidewalk between Bada Bling and my car was angling downward, which is generally easier for me to walk anyway. I still used TCOA but I was able to walk faster than I had going the other way. About halfway to my car, I noticed a lady walking diagonally across the street towards me.
As she reached my side of the street, she said (in a condescending tone): "Wow, you sure can move fast with that thing!"
Like, what do you even say to that? "Thanks"? "Yeah, that's what I use it for"? "Downhill is easier than uphill"? "Shut the fuck up, you condescending douche"? I basically just mumbled something or other and continued to my car, but what she said really rubbed me the wrong way.
I had hoped to be somewhat prepared for comments like these based on other's experiences, but I guess usus est optimus magister (experience is the best teacher - hey I learned that in my Medieval European history class!)