Friday, April 13, 2012

Accidents Happen

He asks me, “Do you want to go down first?” I nod and he wheels me to the ramp off the ferry. As the crowd parts with him yelling, “Wheelchair, clear the way, wheelchair” I say to him, “A wheelchair: the way to travel inconspicuously.”

As the gangplank is raised, then lowered, it makes a long down ramp before it turns, a barrier of wood before a wooden walkway where people can line up waiting for customs.

Crewhand #1: “Are you taking her down?”

Crewhand #2: “Okay, sure”

I wheel forward, flip the casters up the ramp.

Crewman #2: “How much help do you need.”

“I’m okay on the flat” I tell him, inching up the uphill, “But I need help going down.” I have reached the top of the ramp and have my hands lightly on the wheels. I don’t want to use them to brake too much, in case my fingers curl under without me noticing and get broken.

As I accelerate down the slope, I’m laughing. It is a sunny day and the crewman is going fast. The 90 degree turn comes up, where it gets the steepest, connecting to the long sloping line down to customs. There is a wooden wall, in front.

“I wonder when he is going to make the turn?” I think, as I pull my hands free of the wheels, the slope is 25 degrees or more and he will need to pull it sharply to make the tight corner. “Wow, he must be strong, because he sure is putting the speed on,” I think and I laugh, with that light feeling of being on a ride, having fun.

And then my legs crash into the wall.

The chair, weighed down with bottles of water, gatorade, my backpack and the oxygen still rises into the air, using the impact of my legs as a pivot.

I’m embarrassed, and I’m laughing. I’m laughing too much. When in extreme pain, I laugh, the times I don’t scream.

The first crewman has caught up with us. “This time,” he tells the second crewman, “Hold on to the handles. I don’t think even she could survive the next incline.”

The next incline is very long, and lets you build los of speed. Crewman 2 holds on, but I can’t stop laughing the whole time.

When Linda picks me up, I tell her that the chair got away on them and crashed into the wall.

“That’s going to mess them up.” She says.

“Yeah, and I was hoping to exercise too.” And then it is dropped because between getting the van on the boat and getting off, our passports have gone missing.

We find them finally in the oxygen bag, but end up at the back of the customs line. “No, no.” I say to Linda, “The back is where they stop people. Look at the guy ahead, he’s been talking for 10 minutes already. Remember, don’t use the word manga. We were just at a fashion show. There were some concerts.”

“Don’t say concerts.” Linda replies immediately. The last time we went through and said ‘festival’ they searched us for pot. And this time we were carrying some; the spray to relax my muscles before sleep.

There are three booths and the Canadian Customs officer in the one to the right of us has taken the driver inside. They are searching the vehicle to the left of us. We roll forward. It’s a guy, thank goodness. He asks where we were, and if it was for business or for pleasure. Linda answers because I am thinking, “Don’t tell them about the cheese.”

US customs officers ask if you have drugs, or weapons, while Canadian customs officers ask, if you are returning home, how much liquor and how much cheese you have. We bought a LOT of cheese.

He asks us about the liquor. We tell him about the bottle of rum and triple sec.

Officer: “What are some of the big ticket items you bought?”

Me: “Make up!” (I had bought a new lipstick from Lancombe and my goodness was it expensive: cost more than the manga we bought on the last day…..well almost more. Don’t think about the manga: last week a guy on a ferry from Seattle to Victoria was arrested for having ‘child porn’ and animation on his Ipad).

Linda: “And I got some slacks!”

The light in the customs officer eyes goes out as the sheer and total boredom of him looking through our make up and clothes purchases flickers across his brain. “Have a good day.” he says and we are gone.

That night, I fall, my PJ bottoms caught in the wheel of the walker, and I land badly on my leg, shoulder and opposing hand. I go to sleep with my leg up on pillow. Maybe the spasm in my leg was from going for a wheelchair toboggan ride down a slope and into a wall. Dunno. Pain makes the head go funny.

Tomorrow I’ll put up the pictures of me dressed as a Shrine Maiden.

4 comments:

Lorna, Bob and Liam said...

Oh. Dear. Gawd. The guy just let go and let you coast? *sigh* Speechless.

Having said that, is it wrong that I laughed out loud at "Don't ask about the cheese, don't ask about the cheese..." Been there, done that at Customs. Can't tell you how much fruit we've had to throw out going in the other direction... because, you know, Florida oranges GROWN IN THE USA are dangerous to take back into the USA. Lordy.

Sorry about your crash landings. We hope your rest is peaceful and restorative, as much as it ever can be.

Looking forward to more pictures BUT only if and when you've recovered enough to do so.

Love and hugs,

Lorna, Bob and Liam

JaneB said...

Oh good lord, Indy wanted to escape?? Isn't it wierd what officials care about? Last time my parents went to the US they were interrogated at length about an orange...

Neil said...

Ouch! Your life is just full of ups and downs lately, isn't it?

I'm glad you didn't lose the cheese at Customs; that would be a dreadful loss. And I hope the crash didn't do much damage. Silly crewman!

You as a Shrine Maiden? I shall wait as patiently as I can for that. I'm sure you looked wonderful!

Love and zen hugs,
Neil

Elizabeth McClung said...

On the 52 year old Coho, I have to use the manual chair, even when getting on in a van, as there are no elevators. Transfer to wheelchiar (theirs have no air in tires), be wheeled up ramps to the ship and on the other side, be wheeled down ramps to the van, where the wheelchair is disassembled and we go through customs.

So, yeah, I was a ball bearing in a pinball machine and I hit one of the bumpers - someone up there earned points or I lost some. The advantage of not feeling TOO much in my legs.

Oh yes, the fruit and cheese are target. There was once a large debate about whether beef jerky was okay or not.