As I was wandering through town on my way home from work today I saw a girl in one of the coolest wheelchairs I've ever seen. Looked over and thought I didn't know her so I didn't say anything and kept going.
Then I popped into the sandwich shop and placed my order and she was in there. I looked again and saw that she was using a Kuschall like I do and that it was exactly the same colour as mine (mystic purple) but that it had bright pinky purple rims (mine are black) and was a different model to mine. Being that my new chair is less than two weeks mine I shouldn't be thinking about new chairs but coloured rims are now on the list of my requirements when I get a new manual.
So I ordered my lunch and was trying to figure out what model it was (I asked her; it's a Compact) and she saw me and said "Hello Emma" and made some comment about not having seen anyone from school for ages and I began to see that actually she was familiar but was still having an "argh who is she moment" so I figured I couldn't pull it off and said I was sorry, but couldn't remember her name. As soon as she said "Hannah" I knew exactly who she was and we chatted some about what we were both up to. When we were at school she was TAB, accident prone but TAB. She gestured to her chair and said "well, I've joined your club now" From the sounds of things she's known she had a condition for a while but it seems she's used the chair (or at least to the extent she is now) since January.
I just loved that way of describing her having become disabled - "I've joined your club" - and the way she seems so accepting of it. We had a quick chat about her cool wheelchair and how freeing it was for her to move to a Kuschall (lightweight, sports style chair) from an NHS standard heavy chair. The staff of the shop were having a little bit of an issue maneuvering around two chairs and I made a comment about being in the way. She completely got it then and just made a comment about them needing to have more space or a better set up which is true but is still something of a difficult subject for me.
It was just a little over five minutes out of my day but it was a really cool experience for me and I felt like I came away from our brief encounter having learnt something.
And I am so telling the next person who asks why I'm disabled that it's because I joined the Disabled Club.