An injury brings out the good in people.
The number of tasks that a right-handed person can’t do with an injured right shoulder surprised me. But nice crawled out of the woodwork to hold the slack. My son, his girlfriend, the couple sitting next to me on the plane: Each contributed to the relay of my psyche from anger at my clumsiness to acceptance of temporary increased incapacity.
Put aside the Thrifty car rental guy whose scripted English had no flex. Avert your eyes from the wheelchair transporters reaching for a tip. Ignore the gate attendant screaming in the ear of the lady next to me whose lack of understanding stemmed from language, not deafness. Smile. Take your seat. Let the man in the Vietnam Vet hat break down your walking stick and the lady across the aisle in fur boots nestle your arm with her soft-sided carry bag as the bustle of a full flight threatens your stability.
I almost made a clean getaway from the Midwest but turned right as my inner ear turned left and smacked against the shine of my son’s hardwood floor. He stood by with grace and calm as I quivered and swore. Eventually, I hoisted myself to the couch. We inched our way to the train station, collected his friend, then parked outside the restaurant. A good time followed. Twelve hours later, my son drove the rental car to Midway and I journeyed back to California, arm wrapped in a make-shift sling, Arnica and acetaminophen at hand.
The zealous baggage handlers overloaded our plane. We failed the weight test. People had to be ousted and did not go calmly. Freight got jettisoned. An hour flight delay ensued. Eventually, though, we lifted from the runway. Four hours later, touchdown in Sacramento, and so my drift towards the two-year anniversary of my sojourn in the Delta begins. I’ve got a lot of soul-searching to do. I foresee an early hibernation. Stay tuned.
It’s the twelfth day of the sixty-ninth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.