Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Dear road-rage guy, you may be me someday.
So I'm still using my cane. I'm six weeks out from my knee replacement, and things are humming along. I don't usually use the cane at home, but when I'm out and about, I'm always sort of scared I'm going to fall. And that brings me to the premise of this blog post: Some people are idiots. And really mean, too.
This morning, I'm walking from my parking lot to my office. I have a temporary handicapped-parking tag that shaves about two blocks off my morning walk. For that, I'm grateful, because now I have to hobble only about a block and a half from car to building. Not that that's always easy, as my knee still hurts. But it's doable.
So I wait until the "walk" sign flashes, and I start to cross. I'm about one-third of the way when a middle-aged guy in a black Lexus starts to turn the corner, then stops a few feet away from me and honks his horn. I kid you not. I not only had the right of way, but my stylin' gold walking stick should probably have indicated to the guy that I had something out of the ordinary going on.
I give the guy an "are you kidding me?" look, and he -- wait for it -- flips me off. I am walking with a cane, and he flips me off. When I finally make it the rest of the way across, he honks again and drives off.
All this happened in broad daylight, 8:30 a.m., in Des Moines, Iowa, a city where we wave happily at people we don't know, snow-blow other people's driveways just because we want to, and pick up litter in the street. I still can't believe the guy was so rude.
To tell you the truth, though, I was also a little embarrassed -- which gives me some good insight, again, into how it must feel to have a long-term or permanent physical challenge. As I looked at the guy, I felt angry at myself, as stupid as it sounds, for being hobbled and slow. For being a person who for the time being, anyway, holds people up.
I can't wait to lose the cane. After I do, though, I hope I am never a person who honks at anyone who is taking a little too long, no matter what the reason.