I went to the grocery store with my friend Mary and as we shopped we separated to find the items we needed. I had a cart and feel secure walking with it, so I'm fine. Not so much. I had to put my walking sticks in the cart and they did fit but stick out a little on the side. No big deal right? No, not until I take a corner and knock things on the floor, which of course I can't bend to pick up. Thankfully I have noticed elderly men are quite ready to help at times like this. That was one issue then came the issue of reaching for things. I'm already vertically challenged, I m used to asking taller people to reach things for me but it seems now if something is not eye level I'm standing helplessly in front of it willing it into my cart. Once again asking for help is all that's needed. Funny thing is, asking for help is hard. I'm a social worker and have been helping people my whole life; more importantly, I'm a Newfoundlander, we love to help others. Funny thing is, stupid pride makes it hard to ask for help. I'd be the first to tell others how ridiculous that is, but I struggle with it daily. I'm working on it.
Back to the grocery store. Mary had been looking for me and was right there to help me with my bags and get the groceries into the car and get the cart put away. She has been such a good friend of mine and Whinnie's through this transition.
That situation was a struggle because I hadn't thought it through. I had one the other day that was worse, because I had thought it through and it just didn't work out.
I needed a specific item, and I really gave it a lot of thought. I would drive there after my appointment and do it myself. It should have been quite easy. It is an independent business and in a building on their own. This meant I could drive right up to the door get said item and get back in the car with ease. Not so. When I arrived at the building the owners I soon discovered had parked horizontally on each side of the door, leaving only space to park across the parking lot. I sized it up and almost left. I decided I had made my way there, I would go in. I took my money shoved it into my pocket so I wouldn't have to carry anything got out my sticks and went for it.
I got to the door and they pulled out and were not automatic. I struggled with the door only to see once I was in there was another. Although a small shop nobody seemed to notice how difficult this was for me. I got in to find the employee/owner dealing with another customer. I had been at Physio that morning and knew I didn't have much time to stand. I waited quite a while and wasn't acknowledged, so I excused myself and asked if there was someone else available to serve me. I explained I couldn't stand long, and I just needed my item checked out.
He seemed put out and explained his partner was on the phone and he was serving this other gentleman. Looking at the employee in disbelief the elderly man told him to serve me. He did, I got the item, and I asked for help with the doors. Once again he seemed put out and did not offer to help me. And once again the elderly gentleman rushed over to help me out.
In situations like this I always think my struggle is temporary, what about all those others who have to deal with this every day of their lives. I left that store feeling awful, reminding myself not to let a stranger ruin my day, but feeling badly anyway. Sure I could have just left and would have if I could have gotten the item I bought elsewhere. In a healthier state I would call the owner, which I think was him anyway.
I wrote about this today to draw attention to how it makes the day of someone who is struggling to get pleasant help when we need it, and how awful it feels when we don't. I know I will appreciate that more fully when I see people struggle in the future.