Monday, June 9

erasing the line

At the dog park recently, I met Tom from Guam. Almost as soon as I met him, he asked about my arm. No, this is not Dr. Seuss. If it were, I would have said he asked about my 'aam.'

Interpretation by friend Noam.
While this question still catches me a little off guard, I am always happy to meet someone willing to be honest and straightforward in their curiosity. I explained that I was born with one arm and that I think it is one of the best things that ever happened to me.

"Really? How do you mean," Tom asked.

"It's allowed me to see the world in a different way, to think outside the's also opened many opportunities to talk to people."

I didn't mention, talk to people like Tom who is now a regular follower.

In case you haven't noticed, I like to talk about disability. It's often the superficial starter to some very deep conversations. One can hardly bring up disability without finding out where another stands politically, spiritually, and socially; whether he or she is more of a half full or half empty glass sort.

"Do you consider yourself disabled," Sarina (another dog park colleague) asks me as we walk together around the Old Town plaza. She is clearly unconvinced.

But that's just it. Where is the line between disabled and able-bodied (both terms I detest, for the record). It's strange to me that someone would question my handicap when everywhere I go, people stare at me.

I was recently at a large theme park with Dragon Boy and Mama. Standing in line for the next ride I was sure to regret going on, I was surrounded by a sea of children whose parents, regretting their unlucky position near me in line, attempted to divert their children's curious eyes.

If I'm not disabled, what am I? Do I exist in some gray area between normal and disabled? The town freak, perhaps? If I don't seem to have a disability, try going just one day using only one arm; and maybe the other arm above your elbow--just to keep things fair.

But do I have a disability? Maybe. Maybe not.

This blog is less about claiming a label than taking the piss out of pariah. [Someone who is British tell me if that sentence made any sense]. Even more than celebrating my own freakishness, I write to show our great commonality--as people. But I have to highlight the line before I can erase it.