Today, I went to town.
I actually live at the very edge, inside the city limits of a small town, 3500 pop.
So, I guess I live in town. But it doesn't feel like it here. There's a stretch of empty road between us and town without any houses, only oaks, Ponderosa Pine and wild turkey and deer.
We ARE a mile, though, from the center of town. So, today, my husband gave me a ride into town. I felt really sick and in pain, but thought I'd make myself get out and try to feel better. You know what I mean.
So, first we stop at the Community Store. This 2nd Hand shop is a great thing, they sell used items and the money goes to helping get food to the hungry in our community or to clothe them, find them a place to stay if they need it. There are no homeless in our town. I give all of my clothes I can't fit into any more to them...I took a big sack of cucumbers to them one day in late summer, too. I like supporting them.
The kind lady who received our big box and big shopping bag of stuff noticed me in the CTO vest, and said, "How long do you have to be in that?"
I know I could answer, "Oh not long" or something short, but this is a little town. To answer this way, it's just rude. It's like saying, without uttering the words, "None of your business." I'm not like that, I couldn't hurt anyone's feelings like that. And I do appreciate that people care enough to ask.
So, I quickly told her my story of how I broke my neck and when I'm going for surgery.
Leaving there, we drove to the hardware store. I picked up some gel stain and some Danish oil for an office project my husband and I are hoping to do this winter. The young lady who rang up my items said, "THAT looks uncomfortable!! What happened?"
I gave her my Readers Digest condensed version, one I know, oh so well. And thanked her for asking. I wouldn't want her to feel guilty about asking me. I want her to feel free to ask, and to not act like a disability is something you pretend doesn't exist.
We backed out of their parking lot and drove back into town to the General Store. This is such a great store, it's OLD and there is an rusty, weathered, for real, gas pump sitting on the curb outside of it. It's not sitting there as decoration (this isn't a tourist town) . It's never been painted. It's just sitting there because it was there when they used to sell gas there. Don't know how long ago that was, but the price of gas then was 39 cents a gallon.
I pick up the ziplock bags I needed and go to the cash register. I'm still wearing my CTO. The woman asked, "How long you gotta wear THAT thing?" I give her the same story as I have just related twice before in the last half hour.
We back out of there and head west on Main Street, then take a left on Columbus Avenue to drive about a half a mile to our post office. I go in to mail a book to someone in France, and the man behind the counter asked, "How is your neck doing?" I've long ago told him the "how I broke my neck" story, so I tell him not so hot and I'm ready for surgery. He asked what would they do for surgery. I described the rods that go from crown to C5 and then a halo brace.
He backed away from the desk and held his stomach and said, "I'm sorry, but I can't hear anymore. I feel like I'm going to faint." He told me that he could not take hospitals or hear stories about sick people, it always makes him want to faint. I told him he must have "sympathetic anxiety." I just made that up and felt quite proud of myself, but also stupid for making an elderly gent almost faint.
I walked out of the PO and put my mail on top of the Sentinel newspaper box, to look inside my purse for a couple of quarters for the paper. I didn't see a young black lab tied to the post behind the box until she lunged at me suddenly with treacherous barks and show of teeth! I jumped back and said to the woman who owned the dog, "Oh, that scared me!"
The woman said, "She never does that! It must be that thing you're wearing!"
I got into the truck and told my husband the story, and said, sardonically, "Oh, that made me feel so good! I love going to town!"
One more stop, at an antique store to find a birthday present for my new daughter in law. I wore the CTO inside...the woman at the counter asked about it....I briefly told her and thankfully, she didn't faint or own a dog.
No wonder I stay home!