Recently I became a new woman, not a better one, just a new one. Pretty much at the exact moment I received my orthopedic supports, I suffered from the sudden onset of crutches-induced Coprolalia -- the involuntary expression of obscene words or phrases. Basically, I have become a woman who has lost her patience, filter and polite demeanor. I generally do not curse, not in a fight with my husband, not in front of my dad, not to my kids, not in mixed company. Now, I cannot control my language and my salty words would embarrass a sailor. Dammit, it is so F*@#ing frustrating. Literally, I cannot stop saying the f-word, the sh-word, the f-ing b-words, etc... I even looked up to see if there was a standardized way to use symbols in lieu of the real letters. F*%K, there isn't.
The underlying truth of the matter is that I am mad as HELL (can I say that word here or will it look like H@&&?) that I fell down and hurt my hip. Oh yeah, blah, blah blah, "Thank goodness you didn't break your hip!" No, I feel like an old lady and I am only 52. I take calcium and vitamin D, and do ridiculous things all over the world, like headstands in the Arctic Circle, zip lines over mad mama bears, 37' upside down rope drops... really, things you could injure yourself doing. Instead, I fall on my way to the ladies room at a neighborhood restaurant.
It's frustrating being on crutches and I bless the souls of anyone who needs any sort of physical assistance. We live in a world that puts those blue handicap signs on doors that weigh 80 tons and cannot be opened by a person with a cane or in a wheel chair. In addition, everyone, and I mean everyone, has absolutely no sense of anyone around them. With our heads buried in our phones, we have no peripheral vision of those around us. Do we check back behind us going through a door to see if we should hold it for the next person? After a week on crutches, I can emphatically say, "No, you don't!"
People have watched me struggle and wrestle through doors, down aisles, or on narrow paths where they refuse to oblige my sweet pleads to "Pardon me," "So sorry," or "Please just let me f@#$'n get by!" My crutches have alternately fallen to the ground as I try to retrieve my wallet and untangle my hair from my new backpack, that is now caught on the railing, and the reason I cannot move up to the cashier faster. "Sorry, a@@hole," I wished I could say out loud to the aggressive dude behind me in line as he stoically refuses to pick them up.
Now, the grand tick off of them all... the Ladies Room Handicap Stall. In just over a week of physical disability, I have seen more abuse of that sacred extra wide, rail-lined, high-seated, big door space. First of all, why the F*%k is the handicap stall ALWAYS the last one at the end? Really? No designer or architect can imagine that stall first? As I walk past each empty "regular" commode, my crutches click along the floor and I rhythmically calm myself by chanting to myself "F*%k, F*%k, F*%k, F*%k, F*%k" ... you get the idea. I put my hand on the handle of the handicap door and it is locked. Someone is using it. Giving the limited benefit of the doubt I have left, I wait though the need is urgent. I hear the swoosh, the latch unlock and some able-bodied woman appears. There is no amount of Botox that could stop the disapproving scowl from my face. (I will probably need 12 needles of it when I have healed since I am grimacing non-stop these days). She blithely offers, "Oh" upon seeing the extra legs that have kept me outside waiting to go and saunters out.
One night at a hip restaurant (wish I thought the pun was funny but I am too angry), I waddle into the restroom behind some ladies in their mid-30s. Not looking behind as they enter, I am left struggling with the door. What the hell? The two of them go into the handicap stall together. Within seconds, I tug at the handle to politely alert them to the person waiting for that spot and then click around a little so they can hear there is some contraption outside their potty playhouse. "Oh, I wish I had your legs," "Oh my gawd, your breasts are awesome, you can't even see the scars, hardly!!" Nothing was off topic for them; from the difficulty of having to urinate while wearing a jumpsuit to vaginal rejuvenation, they were covering it all. I tried the door again with a firm jiggle. They continued not noticing. A friend of theirs joined us and I loudly announced to her that the four "regular stalls were available. I needed to wait for the handicap one!" That still didn't get them out. Finally, with a huge swing of the door they parade out, see my perma-scowl and chirp, "We didn't think..." to which I responded "I didn't get the impression you did that often." I am certain they did not even noticed as they pulled at their outfits, fluffed their hair and went out without washing. (By the way, this seems to be a trend among abusers of the handicap stalls.)
Are people so rude or have I just had it? It is exhausting and difficult being "disabled" for 10 days now (and believe me, I am glad it is not worse and I have gained great empathy for those with real limitations). Meanwhile, the pain is a pain, the obstacles are annoying and I inevitably forget something in the back of the house, so everything takes more time. Please watch out for me and try not to listen to my Coprolalia. Or, better yet, watch out for people in general. Hold a door, offer assistance and just be aware that there are others in your little world outside of Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, Instagram, and the other compelling stuff on your phone... real humans who might actually need the handicap stall.