Hot as hell, but productive day.
I just had a huge adventure. Wait for it… I drove myself to the centre of town, all on my own! Okay, I can tell you’re not impressed, a 28 year old woman can drive, big whoop.But this is a dream come true for me. It marks the end of my dependence on other people to go where I want to go. Michael has been SUCH a sweetie-pie these past five years, but I am sure he has had it with toting me round all the time during his lunch break, when all he wants to do is relax a bit in front of the tv.
I have driven on and off here in the suburbs, but I have not driven myself to the city-centre (okay, we live in a very small city, but still) in FIVE years. Not since January 2003 when I had that severe attack of optic neuritis, followed by a crippling relapse of my MS. It has taken me till now to claw my way back to some sense of normalcy.
My heart is singing as I type this.
Not just because I could drive in traffic without incident, but also because I didn’t get mugged. I have been hearing stories of how violent and evil the CBD is, and how people will mug you soon as look at you. I couldn’t get a parking spot close to where I wanted to be, so had to drive around the block. Where I beheld a lovely, easy to get into parking-spot. Not only that, but a really nice car-watcher. My new best friend.
Car watchers don’t have the best reputation in SA. A largely held view is that they don’t serve much of a purpose. They help you park, when you are perfectly able to do so yourself. Then ‘watch’ your car, only to run away if it is stolen or broken into. Or else you can’t find them anywhere in the vicinity of your car when you get back to it. Then as you drive off, they materialise out of nowhere and want money. They are quite unpopular, especially the more obnoxious, in-your-face ones.
But not this guy. Firstly, he helped me park, and believe me when I say, I do need help. Our Jetta (or Etta, as we can it since the ‘J’ fell off) is a big car, and I don’t want to be the one to bump it/ scratch it, or deface it in any way. Yeah, so he helped me, then asked very politely if he could watch my car. I said, yes, PLEASE. And when I went to put parking money in the meter, he told me not to worry – he had some coins and would put one in if he saw a meter-maid coming. So off I went on my looong walk around the block. Anyone who has been reading this blog for any length of time will know what a long walk in the sun will do to me.
Suddenly it occurred to me that I was a good target for a mugging. I looked around nervously, and said a quick prayer for the safe-keeping of my bodily integrity. And you know what? All around me, all I saw were friendly faces. Friendly, innocent-looking faces, going about their business. I went to the shop where I wanted to be, got my stuff and walked back. My charming car-watcher was there, and pleased at the R4 I gave him for five minutes work. Then he helped me ‘unpark’ myself and gave me a very cheerful wave goodbye. I wanted to give that old black guy a kiss for doing my faith in human nature such good. As I was driving off, I spotted a guy with a mean look on his face. He might have been the mugger, good job I missed him.
I had still wanted to go to Woolworths, but I had already been to the gym prior to my adventure, so I thought I wouldn’t push it. Good thing I didn’t because when I got back home the exacerbation arrived, good and solid. I battled into the flat and just about collapsed on the couch, where I stayed for a good half an hour to regroup.
But I feel very proud of myself that I have reached my ‘driving in the centre of the city’ milestone. It wasn’t as bad as I made it out in my mind to be.
I feel very tired now, but it is taking more to get me to the point of exhaustion now. Gym and a trip out in the car, including a walk around the block. Woo-hoo. Now excuse me while I go veg out for the rest of the day, as I have used up my entire quota of energy for today. But it was worth it. I feel so normal. Another milestone to cross off my list.
Edited to add: After an hour of vegging out in front of the tv, I did a smart recovery and was good to go again. Alas with no car at my disposal, ha ha. Michael and Etta had gone off to work again together. But it’s great that my recovery time has become so much less than it used to be. I have to say, seeing the tangible effects of my recovery is very exciting and motivating.