Freedom, Super Powers and Shank’s Pony


First day of ‘freedom’.

It’s a bit weird to know that for the next three months I won’t be leaping up early and getting to work before 8 am. I actually had some bad dreams leading up to this. Dreams about burying things that I didn’t want to bury, and digging up things that should have stayed buried. And nasty anxious dreams about waiting on a crowded beach for a sunrise that didn’t happen.

Dreams about change, I suppose.

On one hand I feel a bit anxious, mostly that I’ll have a wonderful low-pain couple of months and then get back to work and find the agony starts up immediately. On the other hand, I’m energised and excited that until next year I will be able to deal with my pain as soon as it starts whenever I need to.


A very good illustration of my ‘anxious’ face

Anyway, now the real challenge will be to stay active and be as frugal as possible!

One really good way to do this made itself abundantly clear today. I popped out to run some errands and dear god I regretted it! Turns out that school holidays is not the time to be out and about if you are trying to manage a fairly stress-free (and therefore pain-free) life.

The roads are full of people driving like the hounds of hell are in the back seat threatening to vomit over the upholstery if they don’t get to the playground, like, immediately. The streets are a mess of prams and small children, forcing the unencumbered to step into the roads (in front of outraged tradies who are unused to sharing their roads with so many outsized people-carriers).

The streets and the shops are chockers with stressed parents and their bored offspring. The parents are crazed with irritation, anxiety, too much party food and regrets that they didn’t get down to the coast. They have no time for slow-moving people with all the time in the world to do whatever they want without three children under 10 in rampant sugar-shock complaining at every turn.

Those prams and shopping trolleys start to look awfully like weapons after the third day or so of the holidays …


Weapon of mass destruction

I should know better than to take this on. I know it can’t end well.

The thing is, I guess I’m one of these people you hear of who have an ‘invisible disability’. The fact is, I can be as fit and flexible as I like, but my muscles, joints and nerves have joined forces to make sure that I am anything but agile. If a shopping trolley comes at me at 25km/hour, I can’t avoid it. I just can’t. But to a casual observer, it looks like I should be able to.

Other things I can’t do (but look like I can) include: climbing stairs without clinging desperately to the rail, climbing more than a few flights, dodging fast-moving children, squeezing through small spaces without toppling. So I use things like elevators when they’re chockers with prams, and won’t move away from the stair rails to let small children pass by, and generally get right in parents’ ways.

And then there’s my Invisibility Field.

They say that everybody has a super power. I have several * but my main – and very impressive – one is to generate an Invisibility Field that renders me undetectable to the naked eye.

I’m not exaggerating. I’ve had people walk straight into me more often than I could count. I’ve stood carefully in full view and had people collide with me, then blink in astonishment because they had no inkling I was there. I’ve had people stand looking in my general direction for ten minutes, then start walking slap bang into me. I’ve had birds fly into my head, then look utterly astonished. Even automatic doors sometimes close on my head and trap me. **

So, needless to say, a crowded street or shopping centre is bad news for me and my limbs. I’ve been bruised, shoulder-charged, had my walking-stick (which I some times need to use) knocked out from under me, been knocked to the floor on several occasions, been clobbered with prams a million times (and then snarled at for Being There).

Unsurprisingly, being in public during school holidays has a tendency to increase my anxiety – and therefore my pain levels – a hundredfold.

So the best solution for me at the moment – stay well away. I will be hiding at home as much as possible during the holidays. I will do work in my house and garden. I will take Darling Dog for lovely walks far away from shops and playgrounds. If I have to shop, I will take a list and do only the basic necessities. And rather than drive and park (car parks full of angry parents with SUVs and shopping trolleys are DEADLY) I will use Shank’s Pony and walk.

All of which is guaranteed to save us money and improve my fitness! Not to mention being better for the environment.

So begins my work-free life. (When is it safe to go out in public again?)



* Including the uncanny ability to select only the grocery items that won’t scan or haven’t been priced.

** Unfortunately, this is very true.





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