November 14th, 2008

The skin over the deltoids, just to the rear of the armpits, takes most of the friction. Especially on a hot day when a t-shirt is all that separates the rubber crutch-tops from my body. I’ve been home an hour now and I still feel the burn. I don’t have the energy at the moment, but I have to look in the mirror and see if welts have formed. I suppose at some point callouses will build up, but I’d like to be back on my prosthesis long before that happens.

The pain was peaking as I descended the slight hill on Sacramento, after leaving the Presidio library (Philip Roth & Stanley Elkin in my bag — both remained quiet). I was approaching Baker at .072 mph when a driver, waiting at the stop sign, waved me across in front of her. Mam, if you’re one of the 200 million readers of this blog, you know who you are, so lissen up: Don’t give the go-ahead to a slow moving cripple when he’s still sixty feet from the intersection. Crutch locomotion is deceiving — you see a bunch of reciprocating appendages, but forward progress is minimal.

The psychology is this — and I’m sure it applies to you, too, Mrs. Cream Colored SUV Driver. Think back to the last time somebody held the door open for you when they were sufficiently far ahead to humanely ignore you. Did something fire in the good-neighbor center of your brain, speeding you up to accept this doubtful gift? Did you mumble thanks to the overtrained good-little-boy as you hurried through this portal of politeness? You probably did, but you were angry in your heart — because unless it was a liveried doorman, whose job it is to usher you through, you had to accept the gesture as though it was a favor. It wasn’t.

Now, women, I’m sorry, but I’m going to go all Larry Summers on you here. Females perceive right-of-way differently from men. I’ve been driving for over fifty years, and although the disparity is not great, a woman is less likely to advance when she has the right-of-way. (I just went through a lifetime of notes and the actual figure is 3%). Failure to accept the right-of-way causes accidents, kindles road rage, and causes sexist-sounding statistics to be published, unsourced.

There. I’ve said it and I’m glad. If you don’t like it, take a stiff piece of garden hose and whip me under the armpits until I take it all back.

Note: Men tend to do that irritating door-holding thing.

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