The last two weekends involved travel. I went to my niece’s college graduation and then attempted to network with the climate riders, whose ride from Fortuna, near Emily’s alma mater in Arcata, to San Francisco began the next day.
Here are some notes from the trip; as you’ll see, it was far from satisfactory:
—-13-05-21 At Ft. Bragg (after having spent a day and the next morning in close proximity to the climate riders).
I have decided to cash in on this whole trip. I had hoped to network with the climate riders as they rode down the coast. I was going to try posting Buddha Bubba Raves signs* to see if I could seed an effort to broaden the concept and practice. But my disability** and the ever present fear of appearing too extreme became too much for me. That and the inherent outsider status given me by not being signed on to the climate ride itself this year. (One raises something like $2500 for climate fighting organizations to qualify for the ride.)
Funny, not long ago the issue of my being too extreme would have hardly been an issue at all. Now, as I watch myself grow more and more disabled, I’ve become sensitive to my standing out very much. I’ve often been puzzled by the same tendency when I’ve observed it in others. It’s struck me as surprisingly common and almost never something that it made sense to me to worry about.
And now I see it as a trait of my own.
For an example of the type of trouble I had, consider: I tried to put up Buddha Bubba Raves signs. It went relatively well on Monday, but today I wound up having to put them too far apart (because of such a limited ability to walk that I felt it unsafe to risk traffic while putting them together). They looked like two unrelated groups of two each. The wind blew two of the signs down, so making sense of them was virtually impossible. I was incapable of moving about well enough to rectify the situation.
At one point I fell on the steep bank, breaking a leg off my walker that stood nearby in the ditch at the edge of the road. At another I went to a sitting position to avoid the risk of another fall and couldn’t get up again until a rider stopped and assisted me.
This was not the image I had hoped to project.
All in all, I have to accept an incompetence I’m not at all used to. Anyway, I can see why so many people feel self-conscious about going out on a limb by taking a stand different from the rest. Our culture, and even our families, are far too readily inclined to punish ideas or thoughts that are unusual, no matter how right, or well thought out, or strongly held.
I felt none of that as a child, although I think all of my siblings may have, at one moment or another, either within the family, or due to our being from Oklahoma in California when many of our peers were still reeling from the memory of the depression. Maybe I was just fortunate by the timing of my birth, but I was exceptionally blessed with a very functional family and a supportive, stable community.
At any rate my good fortune may have turned. I’m not sure how to deal with it.
*Buddha BubbaR aves signs are based on an advertising campaign run by a shaving cream company, Burma Shave, in the mid-twentieth century. It consisted of a series of four to six signs posted along side the road that contained a verse that carried a cute message such as, “If daises/are your favorite flower/keep on pushing up/those miles per hour/Burma Shave.”
Our campaign would focus on environmental messages, line bike paths, and end with “Buddha Bubba Raves.” Typical would be something like, “Climate change?/Here it is!/Thanks so much/you corporate pigs/Buddha Bubba Raves.”
**I have M.S.. It has not yet put me in a chair.
—-13-05-22 Outside Dunnigan
After I bailed, spurred on by another event involving getting up, I spent a lot of time thinking about the overall experience. All in all, save the graduation, this has been a pretty much washed out trip. Now I’m sitting roadside waiting for a triple A rescue.
The problem with the bus* re-asserted itself today, and is definitely triggered by a low tank of gas. The upper limit on miles one can go without having the gas supply interrupted is 203.
Got to run, here comes the guy on the white horse.
I fell as the AAA truck arrived and I got out of the bus. I did it facing outward and slipped on the gravel. It turns out that my ankles can’t provide enough flexibility to cope with slippage of gravel over slanted ground, especially when the slant is downward in the forward direction.
I couldn’t get up despite having good grips on the interior of the bus. That did keep me from falling all the way out of the bus, though. I was left hanging half in and half out. Eventually (pretty quickly) the driver from AAA helped me to my feet. Again with no injury at all, although if he hadn’t been there to help I probably would have hit my head against the doorsill on the last drop to the ground from the bus.
That final observation served to reinforce my thoughts on having to be more cognizant of my newly recognized limitations. If I had fallen entirely out of the bus, my ability to achieve anything else during this lifetime would likely be ended in an instant. The end of fruitful opportunity for me has now passed me by at least twice. How much time do I have left, I wonder.
* “the bus” is how I refer to my 1996 Dodge Caravan.