Tag Archives: health

I Was Thinking…

The thinking took some time. Basically i had three books. They were somehow unbalanced. The more i tried to balance them, the longer they got. And the more out of balance.

I took some time out. Some more time out. I spent a lot of time on twitter. Getting retweeted is affirming, no doubt about it, and i enjoyed catching up with people i adore and had forgotten existed.

My head’s like that. Involved in a book, i can forget my own family. Even myself. Reading a good book should be like that, writing them possibly more so.

I did quite a lot of research while i tweeted, figuring out the intricacies of crowd-funding, on demand publishing, and deciding whether the previously only e-publishing model was worth sticking to. Quite simply, it wasn’t.

When i first published The Birthday Dragon, i accidentally took it off public display, not realising Adult (it was adult fiction, not ‘young adult’ or ‘children’s’) meant the same as X rated on the prim US site i was on, and my book was literally only available to those looking for porn. So sales were, to put it mildly, minimal.

It took me nearly 3 months to realise what was going on, and by then it was too late. I’d missed what booksellers call the golden window for sales. The book never sold. People agreed it was wonderful, reviewed it glowingly. Still no sales.

Even today, it’s one of the highest rated books on Smashwords. Out of all books on the site over 100,000 words, it’s still on the front page, admittedly at No 20, but it was published back in 2011. Put in ‘under $2.99’ and it’s number 8.

Currently, if you look at Sci Fi over 100,000 words, it’s number 1. Fantasy over 100k it rates highly, but if ‘under $2.99’ it’s number 1 again. But it isn’t selling. At all. It’s one of those questions – is it me? Or is it Smashwords?

I tried competitions, blogs, tweeting, sacrificing small geeks, edits, and still, no sales. So i gave up. It would be alright when i did Book 2.

Right before publication of Book 2, the person doing the cover art decided not to. Two weeks before publication. It rocked me more than a little. Doing it for free doesn’t mean to me that it’s ok to be unprofessional. I didn’t pillory him on Twitter, which shows control i didn’t think i had. I tried to do some artwork myself, and my graphics tablet blew up.

Mr Whatsit (and some articles i read confirmed the notion) suggested i leave Book 2, do Book 3, and put them both out at once. Maximise sales, give me time to do some artwork myself. Then my landlord at the time served notice.

A new graphics tablet dropped into my lap (via the post, a friend upgraded and sent me theirs), i completed the books, the interstate move (2013) plus three more (1 more in 2013, 2 in 2014) .

Finally settled, i finished off Book 3 and organised the artwork. I did take the nutso artist’s cover off Book 1. For all i knew he was about to demand i did and the cover didn’t match the book, so what the hell.

I had other real life problems. Mr couldn’t manage even the few stairs here. We were supposed to move. Again. Scheduling a book release when i couldn’t promote it seemed nuts, so i put it off. Again.

The move, late 2015, didn’t happen. My car needed a sudden injection of funds, all the moving money, and fortunately the landlord didn’t mind us begging to stay. Never mind, we’ll move in 2016.

Cancer clawed at me, thankfully caught by signs my doctor paid attention to. Not just one cancer scare, but possible tumours in breasts, back, uterus, and brain had my whole attention.

Not just moving was cancelled. My life was. Then it wasn’t. Thankfully they caught everything early, or it was benign, or it wasn’t cancer. I did go through major abdominal surgery, and ended up minus womb and ovaries, which seems a small price to pay for life, but did put paid to moving.

I was off Twitter. It seemed i had nothing to say, or at least nothing i felt like sharing. “My life is fucked, how’s yours?” I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like discussing depression with others. My depression that is, i’ll happily discuss other people’s. (I will go to a psyche, and endure the tears and laughter that make up a talking cure.)

I hit Twitter again. It was lovely, and i cursed myself for a fool for not enjoying my friends. Or for not giving them credit for being whole humans who might actually care about other people. I carefully avoided thinking about the books.

Suddenly, it came to me. The books needed to be a … wtf do you call a four book set? I pretended not to hear the thought for weeks. I did surreptitiously do that research on crowdfunding and print on demand. Under my own radar, while shouting about goddamn fascists on Twitter.

After some Googling and more thought, i decided a quartet was the right name. We were supposed to be moving mid year, so i was thinking seriously about how to schedule moving and books. Then Mr got some good news, the operation he’s been waiting years for is happening this year. So we’re not moving. Again.

And i have no more excuses. Unless the landlord springs the kind of unpleasant surprise every tenant dreads (Guess what? I’ve decided to double the rent/knock down the house and build an apartment block/evict you cos it’s a Leap Year) and i have to move.

My health isn’t good, but it never is. I wrote the books despite that.

So i’ve started splitting them into 4. Gives me 4 books of about 100,000 words. I’m hammering out the chapter summaries, which as the books changed, stupid me had not kept up. Without them, editing the books further is tricky, i can’t see the flow.

Looking at the price of self-publishing books this size, i may have to cut them further, either with editing or cutting them into more books. I’m not sure. Depends on what i want to crowd-fund. My education in that and Print on Demand is cursory, and to be honest, it’s more than a little scary.

Not as scary as real life with the continued demonisation of anyone on welfare – what we in Australia called ‘benefit’ up until the current right wing government decided we were all probably criminals and as ‘welfare’  was already a dirty word thanks to US hatespeech, it worked for them.

Freedom of speech as the USA calls it, and now our government’s borrowing that notion too – they want the right to call anyone non-pinkish coloured a n________. The right to discriminate against brown or black people, against non-Christians and anyone who dares dissent.

Yes, the same LNP government that when Trump declared his ‘Muslim Ban’, crowed, delighted that in their words, someone was copying their policies.

You know the disabled people of Germany were the first to the gas chambers? As the sick, disabled, and aged are called non-profit-making drains on society, as the government (of rich white men and their sycophant women) say they’re going to cut ‘welfare’ to ‘bludgers’, well, real life is a place i really don’t want to be.

As i said on Twitter….

 Time’s a wasting.

copyright 2017 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com

 


Asking for help

It’s not something you expect to have to do in modern Australia. After all, medicine is free for the poor, right?

Not right. Every cheap PBS script is between $5.30 and $6.30 depending on the chemist. Many drugs aren’t on the PBS cheap list. I’ve known people having to pay $70/month or more just for one drug.

Specialists usually charge much more than Medicare will pay, and we poor people have to find the entire fee, pay it, then get fraction back from Medicare, because specialist won’t usually let us pay just the bit Medicare won’t pay.

When it comes to nursing, it can get harder. A friend on twitter pays $24-28 every time they change the plate on his nephrostomy (allows urine to be drained direct from the kidney). It’s not covered by Medicare.

And i’m asking for assistance for him. Simple really. If you’re doing ok, and can afford to sling Shane something, please do. If you can’t help with money, maybe RT him on Twitter, or post this on your own blog/feed. Thanks.

copyright 2017 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


Welcome to the future!

It’s finally happened, after 6 years of serious pining, i’ve got a smartphone. Android, which is what i wanted – i’m just not an i-Person. And it was free – you can’t get better than that unless you’ve been paid to have a phone, in which case yr the kewlest kid of all.

Me, i was about to lose connectivity (my old phone was 10 yrs old and about to be obsolescent) and Telstra gave me a phone – talk about freaking surprised. I’m busy catching up with all those things everyone else has been doing for years – yes, swiping, looking at apps and trying to get my phone to understand my speaking voice. Which it does! Coming in late on tech can be great, you get something that works pretty well right out of the gate.

Continue reading


What?

By the time you read this, i hope a title will have occurred to me. Right now, it’s like someone scooped out my brain and replaced it with blancmange (a wobbly milk dessert). Nothing as on-trend as pannacotta, not in my head.

After surgery, i took home several infections. So my brain-deadery (it’s a word, at least MY mind says so) can be blamed on 8+ weeks of antibiotics and other pills, illness, and sodding convalescence. According to the surgeons (who i haven’t seen since 24 hours after my op 8 weeks ago) convalescence might take 3-4 months. Or more.

I’m sleeping ridiculous amounts of time round the clock – assuming one sleeps 8 hours a night, that leaves 16 hours to fit the rest of your life in – i am trying to fit a normal waking life into about 5 hours, during which time i have breakfast before going to  the doctor, the shops, whatever else needs doing.

I crawl home, fall back to sleep for 3 hours, up for the evening, (when i sort a meal, crash in front of the tv, unable to even focus on a book, let alone editing or the quickwittery of Twitter – yes, that’s a word too, i swear), then to bed for 10-12 hours and the cycle starts again. I don’t know if it’s worse because of my Chronic Fatigue, or normal, but it sucks.

Trying to edit Book 3, I’ve been hampered slightly by the brain-deadery, unable to remember either of the other two books with any kind of clarity. Hell, I can’t remember the previous page. Yeah, this is part of getting better, but it’s driving me nuts. Then Mr Whatsit got a stomach bug and so did i. Two weeks later, we think we’re finally safe more than a quick dash away from a loo.

Did i mention i was supposed to move house before this happened? My house is chaotic (but organised, i have lists!), and full of packed stuff, packing boxes and material for packing, because the lease ended and we were getting ready to move. So moving is next. I can’t do it yet (i still can’t lift much or drive – well, i can try, but pain is a good reminder of my limits), but depending on how nice the landlord is as the year goes on, i may find i just have to start packing.

This week’s been fun. I put my back out, (no idea how) and it’s been heatpacks, liniment, and back on the walking stick indoors. Trying to move at all is almost impossible. (So it’s past lucky that i’m finally over the stomach bug.) I’ve finally finished the antibiotics, and fingers crossed, no more.

Despite the back, I’ve been able to do a bit of exercise on my little X-trainer, down from the 4 kilometres i was doing before the op to 400m at a time (from 2 1/2 miles at a time, to 1/4 of a mile) – which despite being really hard, it does feel so good just to be a little active again.

When i think about it, life is on the up.

copyright 2016 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


Expectations

Note, that’s not great expectations. So i had some abdominal surgery (i’m fine, they got the cancer before the bastard developed properly, so we think i’m alright) and i thought cool, i’m alive, and it was all laparoscopic (keyhole surgery x4) so easier on my bod. They kicked me out of hospital just 24 hours after surgery, which was fine, i was high as a kite and thought yes, home! Begin the recovery! And i can finish my editing, maybe even put the books out.

Oh dear. After two weeks of enforced DO NOTHING (enforced by Mr Whatsit, who has been like a recuperation nazi, stopping me from hurting myself, i’m now at the “carefully do tiny things and watch out because you are going to hurt” stage. I can’t lift anything heavier than a kettle (lifting this laptop is beyond my strength). I can close the garage door (thank you gravity), i can’t open it (damn you gravity!). Doesn’t matter, i can’t drive yet anyway. Standing is a short term event, walking likewise.

A new high-seated stool was necessary for the kitchen, or i couldn’t have even made toast. I’ve been more concerned with keeping my bowels moving (we’d like to thank psyllium husk, senna, and an initial diet of mostly fruit) and stopping taking the most awful drug i’ve ever taken – endone, or as it’s known on the street, oxycodone. Disgusting, and nowhere near the fun it’s made out to be.

I came off it as soon as i dared, after only 4 days – i was on anti nausea drugs to stop simply throwing up 24/7. With my doctor’s knowledge, I went back onto the drug most pharmacists get hysterical over, codeine (low dose), and immediately felt better. Within a few days I even stopped hallucinating from the oxycodone.

Mr Whatsit has been a great help, and i can’t really blame him for the toe. Yeah, middle of the night, i got up, remembered Mr W saying, TAKE YOUR WALKING STICK EVERYWHERE so grabbed it (i was very wobbly on my feet, still am). I made it out of the bedroom, then managed to put my walking stick in front of me, walk into it, and break the middle toe on my right foot.

There was much loud swearing and throwing of walking sticks. Mr Whatsit came to see what was happening and didn’t laugh hardly at all, (and fielded the darn walking stick). The toe was very definitely broken, i could feel the bits grinding together.

On the bright side, i was sick enough that sitting quietly with my foot up was no privation.

Yeah, the books are delayed. Life, it’s a weird place. I suggest you don’t make plans.

copyright 2016 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com

 


I can’t tell you that…

I’m going against my natural instincts. They are never to share. Blogging is so freaking alien. I was born in 1960, missed being Gen X, made it into the Baby Boomer generation by literally 8 weeks, but sometimes think i am a sekrit 1930’s gel who’s been trained to keep the real shit to myself.

When i told a friend i’d been offline (this was a few years ago) because i was depressed and didn’t feel like inflicting my real life downer on my virtual community. He was SHOCKED. He’s decades younger than me, and told me straight up, i should have said something online. I loved him for his concern but tell everyone i was depressed? Pht. Or perhaps ffft. Not sure of the spelling there, but take it as an expression of disbelief.

Every time i see that “ruok” anti-suicide campaign, where you say to someone who might be depressed, “are you ok?” and they are so grateful they don’t open their veins/OD/jump off the nearest cliff, but instead say “well actually i’m totes depressed and ready to like, pinterest my suicide plans but yr concern means i am now ready to live again!” i feel like laughing. I was relieved to see a few other pplz also saying, gawd, anyone realise really depressed pplz lie??” Yes, you can tell by my overuse of Z that i’ve been back on Twitter.

However, i can understand that for other people, opening your veins in a figurative sense on social media is a way to ease that feeling of aloneness. I wish that worked for me when i’m depressed. So if you’re like me, and people offering sympathy/feelingz makes you want to run away, smiling brightly all the time, not because you don’t appreciate their concern, but because nothing stops the fucking pain… perhaps see a psychologist (because that DID work for me). Continue reading


Interesting times

Well, here i am, November, and i should have a working computer in a week or so. I’ve got a computer that works but has a dodgy mouse plate (every so often it goes rogue and hits links or marks text) which can’t be trusted online, so i’ve been using that to edit the trilogy. It’s also got a coffee-soaked hard disk, so i’m saving to memory sticks, clouds, and everywhere else i can cadge some disk space.

The editing is nearly done – i’m on Book 3, and the other two are done. I can’t believe it’s taking so long. I’m at the point of giving up writing and taking up something like illuminating manuscripts by hand, you know, something quick and totes 21st C.

Meanwhile, despite liver getting steadily better, i’ve had non-stop health probs, including so many cancer scares i’m almost blase over blood tests, MRI’s, and CAT scans. Almost. MRI’s are an exercise in Zen and the Art of Keeping On Breathing, and I still find waiting for results is terrifying. So far, so benign.

Tip for MRI machines – put in good earplugs and then their headphones over the top. Doesn’t kill the noise, but brings the constant disco thump down to ‘there’s a nightclub next door’ instead of ‘i’m lying with my head in a speaker at a Boney M concert’.

Latest was ‘you may have some kind of sinus cancer’ and a CAT scan that showed up what they thought was a brain tumour. It was, but it’s apparently not the dangerous kind. Turns out all those years abusing my body are really starting to pay off.

Anyway, weird thing about being away from Twitter this long? I’m cured. I don’t even think about it much. Which is a worry, as i am going to need to go back soon, at least to let people know my books are out.

What if i’m like a bornagain non-smoker, and can’t stop myself from criticising other people’s obsessions with baby hippos, politics, or i-Things? It’s a worry. Still, I gave up smoking and didn’t become a bornagain, so I’ll try to have faith.

One day at a time.

copyright 2015 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


I’m going to kill my computer

Well, i don’t think i’ll have to, the bastard is dying by itself. I can’t use it for more than a few minutes without it overheating. The motherboard, power supply, and dvd drive have all decided to conk out to varying degrees. It is 8 yrs old, so i should probably be amazed it lasted this long.

It all started with Mr’s (also 8 yrs old) computer, i was busy trying to get it working, and its power supply started making weird noises, the screen refused to work, and eventually i realised the main prob was the motherboard (though the power supply did die too). A friend sent me a new motherboard (an oldie he had hanging around), which also turned out to be stuffed. *sigh*

Not to worry, someone gave me an old laptop. Turned out they stopped using it after it had coffee spilled inside it. So it’s not the most reliable computer in the world and it is possibly the slowest. It’s ok for non-net work, if you make sure you save stuff separately.

So i couldn’t put out Books 2 and 3, though i thought i was ready, because i can’t promote them without being able to be on the web rather a lot. I’ve stuck my head up on Twitter a couple of times, cursing the IT revolution, but i don’t have a comp that works for any length of time, or that i can risk using for long, so can’t stay to chat.

To top things off, i’ve been so sick i didn’t really notice it was 2015. Turned out my liver was trying to tell me something (stop eating cream, the gist of it) so on top of my usual health probs i had some wonderful new ones.

That’s where i’m at. Waiting until i have the $ to buy a new motherboard, (plus chips and RAM), power supply, and DVD drive and trying to restore some level of personal health. The personal health bit is going fine, (exercise, reducing fats a lot and carbs a bit, the logical stuff), but the computer stuff not so much.

Of course, the car has to take precedence as it needs a major service and without it i really can’t function. Whereas i only think i can’t function without a comp.

So the really unreliable laptop is being pulled into use, (aided by memory sticks as i can’t trust the hard disk) for another edit of Books 2 and 3, which i haven’t touched for 6 months while i tried to figure out first what was wrong with the various comps, waited for parts, tried the parts, was stymied, cried, screamed, and then did it several times over. I even tried to get credit, but as i’ve never had credit (except from the phone co, the electricity co and Mum), they won’t give me any.

I’m hoping to be back online properly within 3 months. Yep, a fixed and limited income with an ability to budget means i can pinpoint the moment i should able to fix my desktop and restore my virtual life. And it gives me time to do a nice polish of the remainder of the trilogy.

All things for a reason? If anyone sees God, please ask her wtf. Ta.

copyright 2015 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com

 


The Dustbunnies Are Revolting…

It seems my life’s made up of waiting at the moment.

Waiting to see if:

  1. I actually die of this flu, or survive another year in NSW, the State of Unhealthiness
  2. the Hot Young Singer takes up the option to record my song, (which may, of course, never result in any real money, but it’s a nice thought)
  3. The Reader will confirm my thoughts about the edits required on The Thing, (the book i’m writing).

I’m filling my time with good work, though my back’s not good, so am working above the knee. Below there, things are getting crunchy. I’m sure one day soon i will both clean the bath, and the kitchen floor. Before anyone gets irreparably stuck to either.

In the meantime, I’ve warned Mr Whatsit (whose back is so bad he tends to keep things above the hip), to keep a spatula handy to free himself, and me, i’m pretending i can’t see the mess below knee level, and wearing slippers a lot. I have actually started spring-cleaning (it’s that time of year here), and above the knee and up the walls, have dusted, wiped, and dusted again.

Let this be a lesson to you, when they say the chimney at the local power station removes visible smoke, i think it gets visible again when it arrives on surfaces. Or in your lungs. *cough*

Patience, my arse, I'm going to kill something...

Also still waiting, on any of the several ways i have of leaving New South Wales and returning to Queensland. (Not my native home, that’s Western Australia, but Queensland is where i used to live and where i want to go back to.) Sadly, the Invasion Tour of Queensland ’09 which was made ’10, is now looking early 2011. God al-effing-mighty.

When you’re stuck somewhere, and leaving is all the time imminent, it’s so hard to get involved in anything. You feel you can’t get involved in local groups, because you’re about to leave, so what’s the point? Before you know it, that spreads into your personal life too.

You stop trying to achieve goals because you have a new life, starting tomorrow, in a new place. What you do today doesn’t matter, because tomorrow, everything’s going to change.

Fortunately, one of the things i’ve learned is that in times of waiting, it’s possible to achieve a lot, if you just use the time. I had a partner once who was always late, and i learned not to waste my time, waiting for people, or things. This period in NSW has been a hiatus of sorts, but i’ve produced an incredible amount of writing work, and thanks to the local library (reading how-to-write books and most of their novels), and the net, have learned so much more about my craft.

Of course, no guarantees in my life, other than, there will be uncertainty. I might still be here this time next year, though i hope not, another winter here in the House of Doom (it has mould) is something i’d rather not face.

I have several options regarding getting back to Queensland, but  none of them are things i can influence. They’re all reliant on other people’s actions and there’s not a damn thing i can do. The only certainty is uncertainty.

So of course, i’m chafing to throw myself back into The Thing where i can hide in a world of my own creation. It’s been read once, edited/corrected, is being read again, about to undergo 2nd edit, then it goes out to two new readers. Letting other people read your work is terribly exciting and scary, but so far other people reading it (and me taking time out) has been so good for the text, i’m hopeful that the next stage will also be positive.

Then what? Well, omg, then i think i need an agent. I have lists of websites, notes of possibilities, and the vague idea of self-publication if necessary. I’m praying the moment i say, The Thing is done, one of the nice agents i follow has secretly been nursing a desire to publish it and snaps it up. Unfortunately, i’m pretty sure all my agent tweeple (i think i have two), don’t do sci fi fantasy.

As for The Thing itself, I have the story mapped out, at least in vague terms, as it continues through the next few books. The nature of the story lends itself to a computer game, i have some notions for merchandising, and i suppose i’ll need a real website, instead of this hosted one.

Gawd, i think i’ll go hide under the bed for a while.

*****

The dustbunnies forced me out, they’d formed an army and were knitting rope out of all the shed hair.

cute but dangerous - srsly, they may contain all kinds of heavy metals

So while i waited for the insecticide to work, I had a chat with First Reader about my thoughts on where the ending should be.

Basic plot was of the hero’s adventures from 15-20: during his last year of school, at a university, in the army (for three years), and then as a kind of diplomat. I was sure i’d tried to stuff too much in, and Book 1 should end at point where, during a drunken rampage, he joins army.

Reader agrees, phew, so am now able to start some work without needing Reader to be finished his second read. (i’ve done an initial edit after printing out the original.) He’s a published writer, so a useful resource. It’s important to me that readers give me more back than just whether they liked it or not.

So now I have cut book back to where hero joins army, which as book was too long, brings it to within about 15,000 words of where it should be. (Cut bits now form outline of Books 2 & 3.) It makes a lot more sense like this, i was trying to stuff way too much in.

So the plan now:

  1. i rejig chapters
  2. do chapter summaries and note chapter lengths (will expose where there’s too much stuffed into chapter, or a thread could be expanded)
  3. with saved space, and 15k to play with, i will kick The Thing around, beat it with sticks, and then
  4. send to the next round of readers. Along with First Reader, I have a girl reader and a boy reader for round 2, both scifi fantasy fans.
  5. pray the mould in the house abates and my nose stops running

With spring having sprung here, am hopeful we will at last break the flu cycle – doctors round here say this year, a lot of people who usually have flu shots all ended up with flu so early in the season, they were never able to get well enough to get the shot.

This year, I’m going to have mine right after bloody Christmas.

*****

Oh – and after we’d been waiting for six months (you may remember we rescued a boat from the lake and were told we had salvage rights), the police finally decided to contact someone about the boat, (after Mr’s 4th phonecall).

Once we were pirates....

I’d tried to find a stolen boat register, but only came up with a site that offered to check a list for me for a sizeable fee. We were trying to return the thing to its rightful owner, why should we pay?

Turns out there was a report of a stolen boat. Which anyone in authority could have looked at six months ago. Before the boat killed the lawn.  Still, it’s nice the owner’s finally getting it back.

Us? We didn’t even get a thank you.

© https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


I’ll just be a minute….

Picture this…

You’re disabled, badly. In Queensland you qualify for a disabled parking sticker,  but in New South Wales you’re told, as that useless leg is still attached, you won’t get it. If you were enormously fat, says the doctor, acknowledging how bloody unfair it is, no problem. It’s a pity, he adds, that you’re such a fit cripple, and haven’t let yourself go, or eaten yourself into diabetes.

Women with children get close parking. You don’t. Okay, so you cope. You walk despite being crippled. You pull up outside the chemist, on your way in for your heavy duty painkillers and nerve blockers. Someone parks beside you, so close you can’t get out. Even an able  bodied person couldn’t slide out. You wind your window down.

Mate, you say, you’re too close, you’re blocking me in the car. I won’t be a minute, says the man, dashing past you. So naturally, you back out, re-park a few spaces away, and get out. You limp back to the car that was blocking you in. With your good leg, you kick the door in. Then you limp away.

****

You’re about to use the self-serve checkout at the supermarket. It’s evening, when you shop because there are less crowds, as it’s easier for you to deal with a trolley, something you find very hard with your bad leg. You can also get parking close by, which as you don’t qualify for a disability sticker, makes a huge difference.

A woman and her partner are blocking three self-serve checkouts. One with their two trolleys of soft drink, frozen food, and chips, then the one they’re using, and another with their giant pram.

Excuse me, you say politely, would you mind moving the pram so i can use the checkout? We’ll just be a minute, says the woman.  Five minutes later, they’re still feeding different cards into the reader, trying to find one that’s not maxed out. Your pain levels are rising, you don’t do standing well.

Rather than offering to kill them if they don’t get out of the bloody way making a scene, you go to the one manned checkout and queue for a while. You see the couple at the self service checkouts are now getting the staff to remove items from their bill, then going through the rigmarole of feeding through their twenty cards again. You notice there’s no baby food in their two overflowing trolleys. No nappies either. (Diapers.)

As you leave, fifteen minutes later, they’re still there, still looking for a card that works, apparently too stupid to walk twenty metres (about that in yards) to the nearest cash machine, and find out which, if any, of the cards has any money on it at all. You’re poor, you have sympathy for those in the same boat, but there are limits. You hope they choke on their bloody chips.

****

Up in Queensland, when you did have a disabled permit, you’re pulling into the bank parking area, when someone in a large 4WD cuts you up, and parks across two disabled parking spaces. Oi, you say. I won’t be a minute, says the man, hurrying to get into the bank.

So you stop right there, get out of your car, and even with your leg brace on,  something in your eyes warns the man,  he doesn’t pass you, and runs back to his car, which he moves into a non-disabled space.

****

You’re walking with a severely disabled friend. She’s had a stroke, only one side of her body moves. She can move at a shuffle thanks to her braces and cane. People keep barging into her, to the point where you are hyper-alert, watching ahead, behind, and to each side, ready to say oi!

There’s plenty of space around you, no need for people to come so close, but they don’t look, intent on their own lives, and insist on pushing past, in so much of a hurry that a two-step detour is impossible. You’re not in some central city area, this is at a quiet suburban shopping centre. It isn’t some once-off freakery, it happens every time she goes out.

****

You’re at the shops with your disabled friend. He’s walking with a stick, slowly. It’s Christmas time, heavy crowds.  Even so, as the woman nearly knocks him flying, and hits him (on his bad knee, which stands out, it being held together with a large metal leg brace) with her shopping, several people around see, and join in with your “Oi! Look out!”

The woman looks back,  and you shout angrily (over the noise of xmas carols) that she nearly knocked him over. She humphs, and says she’s in a hurry, like that’s a good enough reason to knock over a disabled person – or anyone.

The other people giving sympathy and offering help are very much appreciated, and make you both feel better, but you feel like chasing the woman down and cracking her on the knee with a shopping bag full of electrical appliances, just to see how she likes it.

****

You’re having a bad day. Along with the leg brace, you’re using your walking stick. You see some people walking towards you. They are spread out over the 4 metres of open space (12+ feet) that’s the walkway next to the shops, completely blocking it to anyone else. You stop, next to a shop window, close to it, waiting for the people to both see you, and move to one side.

They keep walking, looking everywhere but dead ahead, until one of them actually barges straight into you. It doesn’t knock you over, you were ready for it. They get stroppy with you and complain that you’ve hurt them when they bounced off your titanium leg brace. (Stroppy is angry.)

You point out they had plenty of space to walk through, they could see you clearly, you weren’t hiding, and point to your leg brace and stick. Some of us, you say, can’t get out of the way easily.  I’ve been standing here since you were over there, you say, and point some fifteen metres away (45+ feet) They seem surprised, both at where you appeared from (you being such a sprightly and fast-moving person), and that you didn’t get out their way if you saw them.

****

You’re waiting for a taxi you phoned for. You’re outside the shops, leaning on your walker. You have many problems, including being unable to walk unaided. The taxi driver pulls up behind you, and starts calling to you.

He gets out of his car and comes up, shouting and yelling. “What are you, deaf?” You hear him, finally. There are people all standing staring. “Yes,” you say, mortified, fighting back tears, “yes, I am. My hearing aid broke this morning.” The taxi driver looks embarrassed, mumbles something that might be an apology, and helps you into the car, folding your walker to go in the boot.

You want to tell him to sod off, but instead you decide getting home is more important. Your small revenge will be not tipping, and complaining to the taxi company. When you get home, with the door shut, then you let yourself cry.

****

What is it with humans? Can’t you put yourself in the other person’s shoes? Or in their orthotic brace? Have a bloody care – when something happens to you, and you’re not able to move as fast, or as surely, is that the only time you realise, gee, it’s a bit rough trying to get around with the other humans who think their needs take precedence over everyone else’s?

Can you imagine how fucking frustrating it is, when your body doesn’t do things as quickly or as well as you want it to?

I suppose not. However, you might want to remember, not all of us are crippled so badly that we can’t push you back when you shove us. Some of us studied martial arts, and can do things to you with our walking sticks you won’t believe.

So don’t mind me, and don’t be surprised when your car door gets dented if you park so i can’t get out of my car, and then expect me to wait while you go off and do your shopping.

This militant cripple has had enough.

NB – i don’t look crippled. Like most disabled people, i do my damnedest to hide how hard it is for me to look normal.
The above examples are all ones i witnessed or were related to me by the disabled people involved.

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