Thursday, September 13

london, cheers, thanks

The time has come to bid farewell to London. I still believe it is the greatest city I've ever experienced, excepting the fifteen minutes I believed Denver was the greatest before it snowed two feet on my car.

But London is, as my Irish artist friend Janet says, "full on." From the impossibly varied salad choices at Marks and Spencer to the ethnic spectrum of faces on the street, the constant stimulation is exhausting. It would take more than a lifetime to know it intimately. And I prefer deeper relationships.

In my last college newsletter (or, prehistoric blog post) to friends and relatives, I said, with high aspiration, that the world was my oyster. Now, I just really miss my garden, washing my own dishes, and such.

So I think this country girl will take her leave. But I go with confidence in my growth since I last visited this city, ofttimes called the capitol of the world. As with the rest of life, it's certainly not as overwhelming as it once was. You don't feel compelled to know the whole world once you begin to really know yourself.

And now I'm going to do something I haven't really done since the inception of this blog. I'm going on a post-cation. I'm getting away from it all, as they say. Please try to remain calm, make no hasty decisions, and refrain from sending emails about how OAG has disappeared from your Facebook news feed.

I'll catch you up in a fortnight.


Wednesday, September 12

note to self

Just when I've started to adjust, I'm leaving. Isn't that always the way.

I've been thinking of the time I lived in London when I was nearly twenty-two. I was just a lowly film company intern then. Unlike now, with years of experience on me, and currently unemployed. But I'm actually quite liking the view from here, ten years later, at the ripe old age of thirty-two.

When I was interning, I went to work each day, walking and by tube, all the while wearing my prosthetic arm. It's unthinkable to travel by air with that thing now––can't afford the extra weight––but it was a regular part of my attire back then. Talk about baggage.

You can read about my great love for prosthetics in earlier posts.

This time around, I was fake-arm-free. I took to the streets of London uninhibited and unencumbered. People stared, of course, but in the intervening years, I've begun to wear handicap like a badge. I'm a member of an elite group of enlightened individuals who see inability as get priority seating on the bus, primarily.

And at the British Museum yesterday, a complete stranger chased after me just to tell me that I'm special....and because he wanted a picture with me. When I consented, he got some passing tourists to snap the photo. I felt ridiculous, but not nearly as much as when, after several takes, the conscientious tourist felt we needed another go 'round to be sure of a keeper.

It's a bizarre life I lead.

But taking photos with tourists is far better than hiding behind a facade, a body that isn't mine.
Now, at thirty-two, I inhabit my own body, and I'm happy with it. Well, within reason––haven't reached nirvana quite yet.

Do the Paralympics really change perception of disability? Some say it does disservice to the averagely handicapped, setting too high a standard for those of us who are not elite athletes.

To those I say, you've got too much time on your hands (or hand, as the case may be), if you're begrudging those among us with greater ambition or, dare I say, ability.

If all I take away from the Games, as I did the first time in Athens, is the ability to wear sleeveless shirts without fear, then I'm satisfied. Isn't it our own perception of self that matters most, in the end?


Monday, September 10

closing ceremony

It's the last day of the Paralympics, and it's the first day that I started to feel adjusted to this environment.

On our way to a service at St. Paul's Cathedral, Dad and I ran across the Paralympic Marathon. Dad was impressed by the public support shown to athletes with a disability.

"It's amazing," he said.

Then, over lunch, he said I should get onto the track and run. "They'd clap for you, they wouldn't care." I considered this, but decided I don't have the nerve.

I spent the afternoon at the British library, where I took the above (likely illegal) photo of an exhibit dedicated to London 2012. Athletics king, Oscar Pistorius running on blades is center, having competed in the Olympic games and Paralympic Games this year. But if you know anything about Paralympians, you know Pistorius.

Had a mossy lunch seated on gravestones outside St. Paul's. No offense to those encased.