Monday, April 06, 2009

Please don't expect anything from me, from the self-proclaimed gentleman who pays more attention to smells and cloud patterns through eyes perpetually squinted. It's not that I have bad eyesight, but I like people thinking I do.

I went out with some friends this one night. Some family restaurant that was Italian-themed, the walls covered in photos and memorabilia and other unnecessary ridiculousness, the type of decor that would make the average housewife chuckle to herself and hide her teeth behind fake nails and hands that are a little too fucking clean for even the most intense obsessive-compulsive sufferer.

We were sitting there, talking about one thing or another. Topics tend to jump and change and morph and disappear and reappear moments later, somewhere amidst the audience, the spotlight shining ever so brightly and conveniently as hands are raised into the air and everyone claps their gullible, polite little claps.

We were near the door, sitting in the waiting area on vinyl seats that were scratched to some kind of Hell. And as were talking our unimportant talk, there came a man, apparently alone, in one of those automated wheelchairs with the little joystick, though I could imagine how much of the joy he could be feeling. My eyes drifted down and I saw that his legs were plastic.

Well, they weren't his legs. I mean, he wasn't born with them.

And part of me wondered how. And part of me wondered why. War, disease, one-in-a-million bull riding accident, any number of possibilities shot into my head like a desperate man's bullet in a single instant.

And I realized that he was exiting the premises. Maybe he was done eating. Maybe he needed a smoke break. Maybe he was struck by a moment of existential understanding and needed to tell the world. Or maybe he just hated those fucking pictures on the walls. Elderly citizens holding banjos, grinning toothless grins at the camera.

And I didn't act. I didn't stand up and open the door for him, didn't say "have a nice evening, sir", didn't even move. I sat there, on scratched vinyl, and stared.

Some gentle soul eventually opened the door for the man-with-the-plastic-legs-that-weren't-his. And when he was gone, the whir of his wheelchair just another violin string that wouldn't matter tomorrow, the gentle soul who opened the door muttered something about all these people who had their heads shoved up their asses.

And I should have acted.

I could have acted.

It's all just words and fucking angles spoken through gritted teeth.

So don't expect anything from me. I am just gritted teeth and pictures on the wall and plastic legs.

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