Thursday, July 23, 2015

Prepare To Dye

I know that I don’t usually discuss meals, but breakfast today was very strange. People still did not seem used to seeing so many people in wheelchairs. I was still constantly being asked if I needed someone to grab items for me, even when most things were clearly within my reach. However, some condiments were on the second shelf, and I had to ask someone that I previously had not rejected to assist me in getting the items I needed. I felt rather weird about asking someone to  We had a very interesting guest speaker come in today. He is an ex-marine that lost his leg from the knee down due to an IED, which is also known as an Improvised Explosive Device.  He is part of a project called Wounded Warrior, which helps veterans with PTSD. I was uncomfortable taking pictures of him since I didn't know if he would consent to that, but I thoroughly enjoyed his presentation, and the songs he performed were amazing. He said something that made a very strong impression on me, when he was discussing his anger issues due to his PTSD. This isn't an exact quote, but the general idea was that "Don't treat others the way you want to be treated. Treat them like you would treat someone that you love. Forgive them."

It was the final stretch for me, the last five hours of my time in a wheelchair. By this point I had realized that I had a bad habit of wheeling back and forth restlessly, and not noticing. As a result, my arms were over-exerted. It was getting hard to hold things without my hands shaking, and I dropped my pen a few times. Even typing is still a little challenging, nine hours later. I think that it was a very valuable experience, and that I gained a lot of perspective regarding disability and the stigma around it. I honestly feel so grateful for the ability to use my legs. I don't think I ever really appreciated it until I was not able to use them any more.

It was time to switch about ten minutes after lunch. I shifted my items over to where Arnold was sitting, and got up from the chair. Then it was time for us to switch and go out to Sweet Cece's for frozen yogurt as a class. Since nobody outside of campus is aware of our social experiment, it was interesting to see how people reacted. It generally tended to be averted eyes and fake smiles, just like it was yesterday. When we arrived, I sat with Monte and talked about college admissions for a while, as she is still in graduate school. When I told her which colleges I was planning on applying to, she commended my choices. Zach had gotten into Cornell for law school, so when I mentioned that it was on my list, he said that it would be a perfect fit for me. I have been told that before about Bryn Mawr, so I am not sure how many schools could possibly be a "perfect fit" for me! We got back safely without any major incident, since Arnold excels at controlling the wheelchair, and was better at braking after the first hour than I was after the first day. Areté was fairly easy today, as we played "human foosball" by having two goalies hold onto each other, and then having three offensive players hold onto each other as well.
I still don't understand how
Gwennie got her arm in!

After Areté, Miranda, Gwennie and I found the V-House egg! The clue suggested that it would be in a tree and we went all around campus trying to find the right tree. Since there were three of us, we were allowed to go to places that would be totally restricted if we were alone. As a result, I came up with an update on the adage about poison oak. "We're a Group of three, let us be!" Finding the egg was a team effort, since I pointed out the tree right as we were about to turn back, Miranda actually found it in the hollow part of the tree, and Gwennie was the one to reach in and grab it, since her forearms were small enough. When we arrived at Hank, the proctor looked at us in disbelief. Apparently the egg had been dropped down that hole accidentally, and nobody expected it to be found, let alone retrieved. I think that the proctors are considering making the hint "Good luck Gwennie, it's out there somewhere!" one day, since she has apparently found it all but two times.

Dinner passed by fairly uneventfully, but we did have options for our SOFT+ night, one of which was tye-dye. Aside from the scarf (which was done in a traditional shibori style) I had never tye-dyed with the common method, and I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, which made it all the more fun. I think this has been one of my favorite days of this trip.
Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father.
Prepare to dye.

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