I’ve had Scarlet for over three years now. Really it’s Scarlet the third or fourth because I have gone through a few. But there’s no need to tell you that.
Scarlet gets around. She’s been flung across a road, thrown into the luggage cabin on many planes, hurled into the boot of plenty of taxis and sat on by many people.
There have been times when I have been walking with people and I reach a point where I can’t go on but I need to be somewhere at a certain time. This has led to me sitting on the seat attached to the frame and my friend has pushed me. While it’s fun at first it can get a bit scary “further down the track”.
There have been other times when my friends children have looked at Scarlet with curiosity. Instead of ignoring the looks I have offered for them to take a seat and pushed them. To them it is a ride, for me it’s a chance to educate them (and work on my muscles).
I actually don’t mind people sitting on her. It has padding on it and you can sit on it quite comfortably. If I am at a social event and I am already sitting I have been known to offer Scarlet to the person I am talking to. They might as well be comfortable instead of awkwardly standing and looking down at me as we talk.
But ultimately Scarlet is mine. It’s my property and I can do what I want with it. Yet some people don’t seem to see it like that. They don’t realise that its my personal property and so people use her. Not to walk with obviously, but they lean on it or play with it when they are talking to me.
Someone made the observation once that people who don’t know how to handle my disability may want to appear comfortable with it. They show this by casually laying their hand on one of the bars. I don’t mind people doing this, but sometimes when it’s a stranger it does make me feel uncomfortable.
The other night I was at an event and I placed Scarlet in the corner of the room as I sat somewhere else with a friend. People began to crowd the room and as there weren’t many chairs, they mainly stood. Except for one woman. She wasn’t happy with standing and so, with the urging of her friends, she sat down on Scarlet. Yes, I have stated that I don’t mind people sitting on the walking frame, but I do mind if they do it without asking.
I was stunned. The walking frame isn’t a piece of furniture, it’s a mobility aide and my personal belonging.
Would you use someones mode of transport without asking the person first?
By the way, on a side note: Yooralla is running a lawn bowls event on Sunday 18th March at Fitzroy Victoria Bowls Club. I can’t bowl, but I plan on going and making an attempt. If you want to join me, feel free to come along!! It’s a great organisation that helps so many people out. If you’re interested leave me a message.