The other evening, Dad took me out for a dinner and dessert date at the local Stoney Creek Roasters in town. I was expecting a full house of students studying, but it was seemingly a quieter evening, until we started leaving at the end. I should have thought “college time”–studying in a coffee shop that is open until midnight starts around 8 p.m. Oh the days those were, such memories! 🙂
Anyway, when we got inside there was a few people in the order line, so Dad and I went into the ice cream room to see what flavors they had and get a head start in decision of what we would want for dessert. It didn’t take me long…I chose Sticky Bun. It just sounded good. We got back in the main line and since they didn’t have the potato soup that night, I had to read the menu. Understand, even now, my computer screen is zoom on 200%, so that I can type and see my errors without squinting. The menu wasn’t bad…it had dark bold letters, but when reading anything not on a screen, the hard part is finding the focus point–where the two eyes meet and see clear. Once I have it, I must hold it or I start the process all over again. Such was the case in the menu, and I guess it might have also looked a bit strange that I held the sheet right at my nose. I could read turkey and ham, but the sandwich options otherwise were hard to distinguish. I did read “sauerkraut” and quickly skipped that line and just settled for a the turkey, bacon with some sort of dill cream spread.
Dad and I had a good time. We didn’t turn many discussion topics, because the ones we did discuss, half the time Dad was finger-spelling and I was playing Crosswords in my head putting the words together and getting the story down. Dad was very patient. It did cause for some good laughs too. Dad went to get our ice cream while I finished my sandwich. I was pretty proud that my first half had survived mass chaos–bread is my downfall in eating. It doesn’t matter if it is a bun, breadstick, tortilla, toast, sandwich–it is all the same–not only do my hands have a hard time holding in a proper grip, but I also can’t just bite down…I have to wiggle my teeth to get the bite, which causes the bread to move and the grip to fail and you get the picture. I’m a messy eater when it comes to bread.
I am ungracefully finishing my delicious second half when I notice college students have started to surround the room. There was a guy seated two tables over who looked to be in serious thought as he took a sip from his large coffee cup and looked around the room. Dad wasn’t back yet and I suddenly felt embarrassed. My napkin had been very well used, but on my last few bites, the dill spread had oozed out all over my right hand. I always have bad timing in social aspects and don’t purposefully try to appear as an ungraceful eater, but the moment I am licking my fingers is the moment I noted the college boy sweeping gaze around the room and I know he saw me. I quickly grab my napkin that isn’t helping much and gain my composure…then it dawns on me…without glasses, I can’t see people’s facial expressions unless they are right in front of me. I smiled and sort of wanted to clap my hands in delight, because for once, it didn’t matter if he saw me licking my fingers and gave a look of shock or disgust or amusement or maybe nothing at all; but for me, it was a changing thought.
I won’t lie–even though I can hardy see details of me in the mirror, I still struggle with being self- conscience–shifting more to the effects of my disability state when in public places. But why should that matter…why should I be so self-conscience of what others “see” when they do not see the whole picture. Even I can’t. And because I have no control over my physical state, why should I consume my mind with thoughts of how to control it otherwise? It’s extraness. I need to remember what is truly important, what truly matters.
What am I gonna be when I grow up?
How am I gonna make my mark in history?
And what are they gonna write about me when I’m gone?
These are the questions that shape the way I think about what matters
But I have no guarantee of my next heartbeat
And my world’s too big to make a name for myself
And what if no one wants to read about me when I’m gone?
Seems to me that right now’s the only moment that matters
You know the number of my days
So come paint Your pictures on the canvas in my head
And come write Your wisdom on my heart
And teach me the power of a moment
*Taken from song, “Power of a Moment.” Chris Rice. Past the Edges.