I thought of what it must be like to have to be in a wheelchair all the time.
Have you ever been in a wheelchair? I have. For the first time. Just now. It was so exhilarating! Pushed sturdily by my grandson, we bumped and shuddered over the rough road of the drive, then, puffing up the steep rise (my grandson, not me!) on to the smooth surface of the tarmac. The wind whistled in my hair, dark storm clouds loomed above. We scooted by yellow daisies and purple flowers peeping at us from the grass. On, on we went. I saluted the horses – Xispa, Suzy and Ruby and the pony Català – they continued hoovering grass and seemed totally unmoved by our passing. The sheep moved slightly inwards in their fields, more because of sighting Tilly the dog than because of the wheelchair and its occupant. On, on we went past a neighbour-farmer mending his fence – he did look surprised! Jordi had only ever seen me walking the dog, but he was too far away to enquire. Tilly was finding the pace difficult. Accustomed to walking close by my side she failed to sense the correct space between her and the wheelchair. Past another farmhouse with tall, tall tobacco plants raising their pink / red heads. Adam shouted in my ear that tobacco plants are supposed to ward off pests from the vegetable gardens. Thunder began, and then large drops of rain plopping on our heads. The word 'flash-floods' darted into my head and, simultaneously, we thought of turning round and whizzing home.
At home, in the dry, wheelchair stowed in the garage, quiet with visitors gone, I thought of what it must be like to have to be in a wheelchair all the time. Mine was a fun adventure because of a troublesome foot.... Lately I had resisted the family's pleas to take a wheelchair at airports, avoiding the endless tunnels towards gates and on to exits. “Pride” the family assured me. And so it was. Today I had had a glimpse of what it could be like, to be forever in a wheelchair. Practical it is. But not fun.