Yep. I am, as we say in the 'hood, rockin' a wheelchair. I have been for lo, these nearly 8 years, since I fell in a fountain in Houston one hot August night. Sober, as it happens. Uh huh, I was too! OK fine, jump to conclusions, everybody else does.
My friend Jill was with me that night. Bless her soul, she's still willing to hang out with me, although I had the poor form to break my neck on her birthday.
A few years later, Jill and I were shopping at the Plaza, in beautiful Santa Fe, New Mexico. We were in the "white ghetto"-the hot, sunny, center part of the Plaza, where the white folk are forced to hawk their rubber tomahawks, blankets from Guatemala and authentic Native American jewelry made by genuine Caucasians. (The northern, shady part of the Plaza, on the sidewalk, under the awnings of the Palace of the Governors- this is the merchandising territory of Native Americans, by decree of the Governor of New Mexico. Errr, I cannot document that factoid. I read it in a book, I swear to you. I would not invent that nugget.)
Commerce is well underway. Attempts to negotiate with salespeople are being shot down. Why do Americans refuse to bargain, when they're selling goods on the street?
I'm down where I always am, at butt-level with other tourists from around the world, united as one in our search for a bargain. I'm doing what I always do, hoping no polyester-clad ass will see fit to unleash a burrito-fueled fart within my personal space. Or face, for that matter.
Jill was wearing her gullible face. I'm surprised someone wasn't compelled to steal her wallet, that's how innocent she looked. She waits until we are surrounded. The polyester-clads are thick on the ground. Jill, like a stalker of rhino, knows to time her shots with care. She takes a step back. Clears her throat...
"Beth? I think that wheelchair makes your ass look fat!"
Oh, now you've done it. The polyester-clad hordes froze as one. Heads were raised, jaws were dropped. Even the jaded purveyors of healing copper bracelets were petrified in horror. Who was this woman? What was she thinking? Did she not know, it is simply not done, mentioning the wheelchair to the actual wheelchair user; perhaps I would never have known there was a wheelchair on my ass, if she had not breached all standards and SPOKEN OF IT!
We don't know what happened next, we were fully engaged in that paroxysms-of-laughter bit. When we recovered, we got to the front of the line. I even got $20 off! I needed that liquid silver necklace, and it's cheaper to buy from whitey than to shop in the shade.
Liquid Silver, Liquid Sexy
For your viewing pleasure: New Mexico, Land of Nuclear Rainbows