Some days my life is an “I Love Lucy” episode. Well, if Lucy used a wheelchair. The latest episode: Trash Day Fun!
I can take the can to the street but it’s a long process. First I get the can in place and set the brakes on my wheelchair, and then I pull the can a couple of inches to me. Then I unlock my chair, move forward, relock and pull the can. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. I can move the can several inches at a time so it only takes about 45 minutes to get the can out. I love heavy breathing with my garbage.
I had this flash of brilliance that I could move the can in no time if I used my powerchair. I manage to tow the can behind me and only have to stop a couple of times to release the strain on my backward arm but the motor’s not real happy with the load. I hit the bend in the narrow sidewalk and lost one of the can’s wheels over the edge. Before my chair toppled over backward with it, I let go.
Now here’s a predicament worthy of Lucy. The can is on its side (still closed thankfully) and I cannot get close enough on the sidewalk to pick it up. That edge is dangerously close. I try angle after angle. I create tools to try to lever it back upright. No such luck.
I take to the gravel and come up beside the can. YESSSS! Back into position to tow that puppy the last 20 feet to the curb I snatch failure from the jaws of victory.
I bury the axle deep in gravel. I’m going nowhere. But there’s no need to panic! Surely, I can find a way out of this. I try to rock the chair. Doh! I lack chair-rocking muscles. I try calling the neighbors. No one is home. Even my 85 year old neighbor has a more robust social life than I do.
So I sit.
I’m trapped. I just have to wait until someone comes along that I can enlist to help me move. I wait.
And I wait.
And an hour goes by and I’m still waiting. People do still live on this street right? I’m not stuck in some Twilight Zone episode where I’m the last human alive. Right?
Still waiting. But now it’s dark and getting cold. And, I’m breathing my garbage.
Finally I dial the non-emergency number for the police. As a wheeler, when you fall or get stuck, you call 911 and they come save you. I don’t need a whole fire truck for this right? Just one guy to get me un-stuck. I get transferred to the 911 dispatcher.
A fire truck pulls up 15 minutes later – at least they didn’t use the damned siren. I instruct them on how to find the manual releases on the back of my chair and they do. It takes 3 of them to drag me out of the gravel. Another puts my recycling can at the curb.
As I sit on the sidewalk thanking them, my chair starts sliding backward toward the street. Slapstick hilarity ensues as they dive for me and pull me back just as I start to tip. I talk them through re-engaging my drive again. This time it works.
Would it be inappropriate to just call 911 on garbage day?