Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sarah Handicap (Curb Your Enthusiasm)

I couldn't believe it when the nurse at the state of the art Presidio Surgery Center, who had swiped the fancy wand across my forehead to take my temperature and showed me the tropical scene on the fluorescent light fixtures overhead, handed me a pair of crutches right out of the dark ages. I think the United States and some third world countries are the only ones that still use the underarm crutch. All over Europe and Canada the forearm or elbow crutch is standard.

Tiny Tim on his crutch.
                              Tiny Tim, holding a crutch against his armpit

As soon as I could, I started looking for the forearm crutches on line. There are not a lot available here in the US. Most of them are very ugly and instantly evoke images of polio survivors or the kids with hip problems who used them like two canes, walking  with a swivel and a side to side type of gait. Crutches have come a long way since Dickens' Tiny Tim and a time when we would just call anyone who had a walking problem a cripple. However, you wouldn't know it, if you aren't able to walk with both legs here in the good ol' U S of A.

American Forearm Crutches
(Only come in grey)

Sunday, my friend Smithy decided I needed to get the hell off of my couch and out of my house. She doesn't have a car, so we were going on this field trip with her driving my car, for the first time. Once she adjusted the seat, mirrors, checked everything out, and pulled the car around to the top of the driveway and I very clumsily sat down and shoved the crutches in the back seat, we were off. But, we didn't know where to go or what to do. So, after a lot of "what do you want to do," "I don't know, what do you want to do(s)" we went with our old standby, the beach. Half way there I decided I wanted to just go to the movies, because it seemed easier.
European Forearm Crutch
(Come in many colors, but very expensive)

What a joke! First, when Smithy pulled up to the curb (about 8" away) I couldn't figure out how to negotiate the gap with my crutches, so I made her get closer and that helped. I hobbled over to the box office in West Portal, while trying not to get bumped by the minefield of people walking all around me like Zombies, mindlessly talking on their cell phones. I finally got in line and I had to wait on an incline, which is not easy to do standing on one leg with crutches under each arm. A slight breeze or brush from a cell phone talking Zombie would have knocked me over.

Once I got the tickets and made it inside I waited for Smithy. It took quite a bit of time for her to find a parking space. Soon after she got inside, the ticket girls (there were three) gestured to the theater and Smithy noticed the steep little staircase entering the theater itself. She pointed to the stairs and I freaked. There was no way I could get up those stairs, not to mention how the hell I was going to go down them. I asked the oblivious ticket girls if that was the only way in and why they didn't tell me about it. They said "yeah" and that they didn't have to tell me, because on a small sign posted on the box office window that lists the movies, I am supposed to look for the little wheelchair icon and if there isn't a wheelchair next to the theater, then it is not handicap accessible. I guess they have never been on crutches...Assholes!

By the time Smithy came back with the car and I fell in it, I just wanted to go home. However, Smithy wasn't going for that and we ended up at The Century 20 Theaters in Daly City. The people working there were much nicer and the ticket guy reassured me that there weren't any stairs, just an escalator and an elevator. I chose the elevator. Of course, the theater we needed to get to was the furthest out of twenty. Oh, and the handicap seats are basically in the front row. However, I got used to the seats real fast. I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend staring at George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, and Kevin Spacey for an hour and a half, when you feel like shit.

The Men Who Stare at Goats

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