Over the recent weeks, I’ve unintentionally created a new hashtag, namely #LivingMyBestDisabledLife. It began when it took me and my fellow wheeled-friend twenty minutes to make half a cup of tea, which if he was totally honest, probably tasted disgusting. Instead, he just told me that it was made with love and that that was all that mattered.
Come to think of it, there’re countless situations, past, present and undoubtedly future where ‘living my best disabled life’ is the most applicable phrase to use. And seeing as this week’s quota for adventure and excitement was used up during last week’s shenanigans, I thought I’d trawl through my archive for some of my best ‘disabled’ stories.
The One with the Goats
When I was a kid, we lived in a ridiculously chaotic household with an entire farmyard of animals; pigs, sheep, hens and ducks - you name it we had it. But the most memorable members of the clan were Mavis and Gordon, the pygmy goats who were named after my nan’s insufferable friends. The goats loved nothing more than to eat my gran’s Marks & Spencer’s skirts whilst she slept on the deckchair.
Anyway, one summer’s afternoon I was sitting on the grass minding my own business when Gordon popped over to say hello. Little did I know that in Gordon’s attempt to greet me, his tether and my arm became intertwined. As he wandered off, I was dragged behind him; through the trees, across the paving slabs and towards the front door. As Gordon became more spooked by his inconvenient passenger, his speed increased and so did the grazes on my face.
The One with the Malfunctioning Door
Fast forward five years or so, when I believe my goat-battered arm had only just recovered, and we were on one of our classic family holidays. Mum had plonked me on the loo in Ant and Unc’s bathroom whilst my bath was running. However, she suddenly realised my clothes were downstairs in my bedroom, so she went down to fetch them. Because she was concerned for my dignity, she shut the door behind her to avoid any embarrassing situations between me and Unc. Unfortunately, the door had a malfunctioning mind of its own...
I was sitting, chilling on the throne, not overly concerned that I was locked in the bathroom with boiling water brimming the bath, whilst mum was becoming frantic, illogical and inconsolable. Ant, on the other hand, took it upon herself to climb up to the bathroom window on ladders that were far from stable, to reassure me that someone would be coming to my rescue in due course. Unc, who has always been the one in the family with the most sense, gracefully clattered through the door, performed an indescribable belly-flop at my feet, and swiftly averted his eyes.
The One with the Bike Rack
A few years later and it was excursion time again with Ant and Unc. We decided to have a day trip to Carrick Fell where my Marks & Spencer’s skirt-loving Gran’s ashes were scattered. What started out as a sentimental day of laughter and memories, turned into the most memorable day for all the wrong reasons. I don’t know if any of you know, but fells and wheelchairs do not go together. So, as Unc set out giving me a piggy-back, Ant set out with my chair, her handbag and a bottle of vodka. Shortly after the journey commenced, Gran’s exact location became a subject for debate; as Ant went one way, Unc went the other.
Some time had passed, and Ant’s whereabouts became increasingly unknown. Naturally then, Unc plonked me on the ground in order to hunt for the said missing person and my missing set of wheels. To cut a long story short, I witnessed the comings and goings of both Ant and Unc as they entertained me with their version of a slapstick comedy sketch. All the while, I had no phone reception and desperately needed a pee.
During the rigmarole, Ant came out of nowhere, pulled my trousers down so I could relieve myself, and then continued her search for the lesser spotted Unc. Sure enough, he soon appeared having successfully found my wheels and Ant’s handbag which was precariously perched on a rock mid-stream. Clocking the fact that my britches were most definitely downstream, he exclaimed, “You could park a bike on that!”
DAll that’s left to say is, whatever you do, keep living your best life.