Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Being Green

I feel old this morning, like a pair of torn and faded jeans too well worn to be of further use; old before I am ready, like my truck with so many miles on it in so little time. I feel old and tired this morning, so tired my eyes don't want to focus, so tired that my feet won't move. I feel old, tired and alone this morning, alone as one can only be when staring into the abyss, seeing nothing and knowing that you stand singly staring into this bleak tomorrow. And the ever-present pain in my shoulder drives me closer to that edge, deeper into that gloom.

Some days are like this. Some days the pain and the difficulty of even the simplest of things is more than bearable. I look around me and everyone in the room is younger, or if not younger at least more mobile. It was amazing the other day to see a room full of young, strong, vibrant men all in wheelchairs. This morning I was in a room full of people, all jostling for the breakfast line and all looking at me with some vague sort of pity flickering quickly across their faces. All standing. It is such a contrast.

Last night was like that too. I went out for a dinner in a restaurant where everyone else was with someone else, where I was the only singleton table. I had a great dinner of mussels and lobster, leading, as unlikely as it may sound, to one of the more ironically humourous moments of my day. The waitress, having served my big bucket of mussels, came to check after I had begun eating. She said."How are your mussels?" If course if you write it, it makes sense; if you say it out loud to a person with ALS, the irony becomes all the more evident. I almost snorted a spoonful and started coughing as I choked on the mouthful I was eating. Then I had to explain.

After dinner I wheeled uphill into downtown Charlottetown. It's always uphill from the docks, no matter where you are. If it were not, the docks would not be the docks; they would be a sinking obstruction. It is the nature of water that land rises away from it, seeking to escape its lowest common point. So up I went. A few people offered to help and in one or two cases I said yes. Sometimes it is easier just to accept the help rather than fight solo. No, not Han Solo; just solo.

As I sat in one of the outside bars, I thought of Europe and how much this setting reminded me of being there; the musicians playing, the lights strung into the trees, the liveliness of the crowd, with one notable exception. In Europe, folks of all age and scale sit out in the evenings, enjoying the cool air and listening to whatever entertainment comes by. In Charlottetown, the young far and away out-measured the old, the couples far and away out-measured the groups. And of all, I was the only single to be seen anywhere.

I feel this way a lot these days, alone, standing out in my singularity, a mis-colored crayon in a Crayola box, lime amongst the crimson. As Kermit the Frog says,  "It ain't easy being green".


  1. I can comment but Im reticent. Reason is you can go places, I can't. I can go on about my increasing disability and its not constructive. Your blog is inspirational and takes me places I haven't been via google earth. Your blog helps me get through the day. You can travel, I can't anymore. Carol

  2. You not only have every right to comment, and to remind me of how lucky I am, but I encourage you to do just that. By the way, I am sending you a postcard tomorrow. :)

  3. I am sad you are so alone and so ill. I wish I could make a difference but I feel so useless. I can only love you . i think od the times when you were just a baby and very small child. It all makes me sad.

  4. The comment about "mussels" was precious.