October 15th, 2001



A funny thing happened today, I was shopping at wal-mart in a pretty good mood because I was spending lots of money and that tends to get me in a good mood, when this man stops me. He vocalizes somehow, I look down and there he is in a motorized wheelchair, his legs twisted funny, very thin, hands flexed in an uncomfortably looking way. There was a dog by him, one of those perfect ones who doesn't remind you of any dog you've ever played with, a dog that's used for something besides chewing on things. He looks down at this thing he's holding with letter keys and a liquid crystal display and starts painstakingly typing a message, </p>

"Would you mind telling me how tall you are?"

Heh, everybody asks that. Usually I blow them off, give it to them in metric, be mean because it's none of their business and I hate being pointed out as being different, but this guy's different enough on his own, so I tell him I'm 6-1. He smiles. Then starts typing more questions, "Are your parents tall? Do you play basketball? Volleyball? I know I'm rude to ask all this." He's going through a lot of trouble saying all this with the little typing thing, at first I answer his questions slowly and loudly like I'm talking to someone who doesn't speak very good english, then I realize he can hear and understand me just fine so I talk normally. I pet his dog, but the dog doesn't seem to care much, I guess he's working. Funny dog.

I have kind of a nice conversation with the man, then he asks if he could photograph me in his studio. I tell him I get nervous about having my picture taken, so I'd rather he not. Then he thanks me for our conversation, apologizes again for being rude, and goes along his way. I go on to buy orange and black streamers to decorate for halloween, but I'm still wondering about him. He seemed very coherent, he didn't take shortcuts in his sentences, he was polite. But physically he was so disabled, he had to work so hard just to type the letters, what's wrong with him? Was he always like that? Will he get worse?

My Aunt Jo was diagnosed with M.S. two days ago. She has twins, a boy and a girl, they're three years old. No one seems to know what's going to happen to her or when, or if her kids will ever know her like we've known her, if she'll still be able to quilt and play the guitar and teach us nieces how to waterski. It hits every person differently, that's what they told us.

I don't have any grand conclusions today about any of this, it's just all what's on my mind. I don't know how I feel. It's time for bed anyway.