Because I spend a lot of time moving in a wheelchair, I have less contact with the ground. There we go, that’s a prime candidate for the blatantly obvious. It does mean, however that I am no more prone to those nasty little static electricity surprises.
It may be an innocent, seemingly harmless action; switching a light on, opening a cupboard door or putting a towel onto the radiator. But that crafty little beggar, Mr Staticfantastic sends his evil little bolt down my fingertip.
I’ve had some proper electric shocks in the past but they’ve mainly been caused by my own neglect.
One spectacular mishap occurred many years ago when I had my greasy little paws in the bowels of an engine. I can’t remember what car it was; it was probably a Vauxhall. (Those infernal Vauxhalls have always plotted against me. The characteristic road noise and general sagginess of the upholstery are just two of the things which wind me up. Oh, and I can’t help feeling that the designers just try a little bit too hard to get an innovative line to their vehicles.
I’m sure there are many good points about Vauxhalls but I find that when I sit in one it could be any model. They all have a similar family feel about them. And often it seems to be a family with an attitude.
I will now cease my vitriolic aside as it’s probably all in my head. Vauxhalls are a major employer and I’m sure it’s full of lovely people.)
Well, with my hands focused on something below, my steel wristwatch strap crossed two terminals and gave me a nice distinctive burn, thus welding the strap to my skin. As I said, it was own fault because I hadn’t turned the ignition off. I’m still scarred.
So what can I do about this evil Staticfantastic? Maybe I should have one of those earthing strips trailing on the floor below the wheelchair like many cars of the seventies and eighties.
One of the other little things now affects a different extremity. This is my total lack of awareness of my feet. I now have crenellated toe nails due the constant battering they have taken with door frames, radiators and table legs.
The best trick is leaning sideways and forward over the dishwasher and inadvertently driving my poor big feet into the cupboard door. I really should switch the chair off before I go leaning against the joystick.
Over the last few months, I’ve noticed a development of additional markings inside the door frames. They are all the same height giving a sense of symmetry to their distinctive carvings. Of course, this is another little thing. I don’t always watch where I’m going. This has resulted in spectacular collisions in the door areas.
You know that sound of steel on wood? Wood is strong but it will always lose out to steel. It cries a splintering lament as the rear frame of the wheelchair cuts its canal deeper into the unfortunate upright. The wheels are awesome. They can shift anything.
When I wanted to move my bed a bit, I just drove slowly into it. The poor bed. It was like arm-wrestling knowing you would lose; you can resist but you will never win.
The final little thing is the state of the pavements on the streets of Crowborough. They are appalling. These narrow strips of undulating tarmac are being constantly riddled with the signs of progress. I’m quite happy for people to get their super-fast broadband but I’m less than delighted for the filling in of the holes to result in each trip to be raised to the level of crossing an ocean in a force ten.
I suppose it adds a new excitement to posting a letter but perhaps those of a more delicate constitution may be prone to sea-sickness.
Thankfully, I gained my sea legs on the Mersey ferries. The usual eight minute skip across the river was so easily extended by the whipping up of the swell when gales struck the North West coast. I would stand proudly on the top deck, roaring into the wind. I gripped the front rails. My hands would be red with cold and exhaustion. No theme park could match that thrill.
As for the other little things?
People who park on the pavement.
The lack of access to shops in the High Street.
The now well documented bottom line at which my eye level now operates.
High shelves in the supermarket.
A house full of battery chargers.
I will stop now. It’s all a new voyage of discovery. Another day, another level of destruction or irritation. But I don’t mind. Wheelchair equals freedom.
Thank-you for reading.