Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Journal: A slightly lower angle

This weekend, we went to visit a friend who lives in Milwaukee. I went to law school with him; now he's a junior partner with important clients, a six-figure salary, and (IMHO) a moderate drinking problem. I don't really have any of the first, I certainly don't have the second, and I'm holding the line (IMHO) against the third. While we have less in common than we used to, we still laugh loudly and frequently when we're together, even before the booze comes out.

The nominal purpose of the visit was to see the fabulous Masters of American Comics exhibit at the fabulous Milwaukee Art Museum. The MAM itself is a real show: designed by archi-celeb Santiago Calatrava, it's perched at the edge of lake Michigan like a sort of sailboat-cum-Starship Enterprise. On a sunny day like Sunday, when Lake Michigan has a Mediterranean hue, the building really sings.

The exhibit was a real surprise, especially the Little Nemo cartoons by Winsor McCay. Drawn for the Sunday paper back in the very early 1900s, it depicts the imaginary dream-adventures of a tot in a dream metropolis called Slumberland (not to be confused with the furniture chain of the same name). Amazing!

And I enjoyed it all from the comfort of a wheelchair pushed by my sister-in-law. Which meant my eyeballs were about a foot too low for art-gawking, so at the end of the tour my legs were fresh but my neck was killing me.

This is the first time I've been in the 'chair since a trip through the Cleveland airport a few years ago. I'm still a little twitchy about the 'chair: I don't own one, and I think I'd find it hard to use one in the town where I live. While I understand at an intellectual level that it's good energy policy (don't burn gas if you could save it for something more important/fun), I just haven't gotten there yet; I'm afraid to run into somebody I know and have that uncomfortable conversation where they say, "Oh my God--are you okay? What happened?" Or if they know I've got MS, just plain "Oh my God--are you okay?"

I know that if I were to go to the grocery store and hop in one of those electric scooter carts, it would mean that I could get through a trip to the store without ending up totally discombobulated, that I'd have energy left over for something else. So I look forward to the day when I will be relieved to find that my ego has finally figured out what my feet and legs have been saying for years, and I can finally get on with it.

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Linda D. said...

And I worry about being seen in public on the rare occasions I have to use a cane...You think your "ego" is big! It's hard to turn over to the things we "think" make us look or render us vulnerable...even if that very thing really gives us strength. Funny, little human beings we are!!!
Glad you enjoyed your trip...

Beth said...

wheel chair- that's tough

mdmhvonpa said...

Little Rascal is a neet scooter ... it just has that 'Old Fart' aura to it.

Jaime said...

I can understand the feeling. I am sure we all have those moments where the "ego" gets in the way. I am not a big fan of the chair either and tend to be in a position where I NEED it before I use it (well, except at Disneyland...I was not willing to get to that point, too much fun to be had). One of these days we will learn, eh? Sounds like a great trip though. I am glad you had some fun!