Waving my hand in front of the iridescent blue sensor plate that opens my front store, I head outside into the drizzle, raincoat over my head and another on my knees. I look like a pink and yellow marshmallow; like a kindergartener on their way to school; like a little girl who, against her mother’s wishes, selected her own outfit; like a peach and a banana growing old in a bowl of fruit.
I roll on up my steep driveway, across the road, and zoom off down the street. There are rivulets of water flowing down the curbside gutters and making their way onto the road so I decide to bite the bullet and make my way onto the footpath. It worries my wife that I prefer the road, but it is hard to explain to “walkers” how irksome it is to wheelie on the footpath. Every metre and a half the control joint spacing between concrete slabs sends rattles through the bones. As footpaths age, the gaps widen. Trees that beautify roadways lift the concrete and the joints become small steps that jar the body and threaten to unseat you. But on this miserable and dark morning, the footpath it is – to shake rattle and roll my way along.
Down the hill on Oxford Road the wind picks up. Gum trees overhang and the leaves, moving in the breeze, disperse their collected water that smashes down onto the plastic of my raincoat. With the wind comes the rain, so I put my head down and motor as fast as I can. The chair has three gears and in the third and fastest my speedo shows me travelling at 11.5 km/h. It takes me 16 min to reach the train station. Tripview on my iPhone allows me to time the run and I arrive with 3 min to go. I know the guards by name, and they help me out of my raincoats, take my money and give me a ticket, before assisting me onto the train with a ramp. It is one of those old graffitied stainless steel carriages, with six “dancing poles” that I squeeze my way between before taking my place – finally in the dry warmth of the train. Ingleburn to Granville, change for Parramatta, hoping for a dry run to work.
No such luck. There is only 400 m to travel but it is pouring. I can’t risk wet pants, since I am unable to change clothes without carers and hoists and all that jazz. The key, then, is to look for someone with a friendly face. I prefer older people, but anyone hanging about will do. I find two motherly looking women having a fag, and I ask for help with my raincoats. It takes some getting used to, this constant asking for aid. But, generally, people are kind – at least when they get over their initial, “who, me?”
And so, 5 min later, my morning journey is over and I arrive at work. Easier perhaps to have stayed at home but you need to treat life as an adventure. Adventures suck sometimes, but they are better than doing nothing, living half asleep.