From the desk of the disabled

the disabled=

Dan was funny and talented.  He wrote poems, songs, played the guitar and sang, sometimes performing  for various coffee houses or one of the locally somewhat underground etched out gathering places downtown.

Even with a few beers in him he remained smart enough to help  my teenage son with his algebra homework–- something I was not equipped to do.   He was also tall and handsome.  Everyone liked him.  They called him, simply, Big Dan.  He made us all laugh.  He was single and so was I.  We were the same age.  Needless to say, Dan and I had a passionate, though short-lived love affair.  He passion to party didn’t mix well with my responsibilities raising a teenager.

Dan and I often met in the center of downtown where the local teenagers, tourists and foot-travelers were having fun or stopping for a rest.  This was the downtown Asheville we knew before the 100 year lease on the Vance Monument ran out, leaving its reasons for existing to be annihilated by the local powers that be.

Our cultural downtown oasis would soon be over but that summer, before it all changed, Dan and I were wonderful lovers.

I often sat in the sun warmed grass around the monument while Dan played his guitar, an action he would later purposefully get himself a city citation for, due to his not having a license to play an instrument downtown.  He thought this was funny and looked forward to his court date.

“Have you applied for disability benefits?” he asked me one day.

I was taken aback.  “What for?” I responded.  The word disabled conjured up the image of my father.  He had been disabled. I wasn’t like my father I thought.

“How long have you been out of work?”  he continued.  Dan worked at a group home and was educated on the subject of disability.

“It’s been about three years,” I answered.  Hearing myself say three years did sound like a long time.

Looking surprised he said, “Depression is a disability and you can get help because of it.”

I remember that day.  I remember the grass.  I can still remember how it felt to sit there with Dan.  It felt really good.

I would slowly begin to realize many things about my life; the history of it; how and why it played out the way it had — and myself — I would in some ways meet myself for the first time in my mid-thirties.

It would be six months after that sunny warm day with Dan that I walked into the Social Security Administration’s local office.

“I have an appointment,” I said to the clerk.

“What are you here for today Mam?” she asked.

I leaned forward a little, self-consciously lowering my voice.  “I’m here to apply for disability benefits.”

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2 responses to this post.

  1. enjoyed getting to know you… I have an internet friend who has a lot in common with you. You should check her out at http://greatdaneservicedog.wordpress.com/

    I’m from Greensboro originally. Matter of fact, I still call myself a TRANSPLANTED southern woman in spite of my living in MD for 8 years now. I still have the accent so I’m allowed.

    I love your post about the dogs. My dogs complete my world most days. They ask for precious little in return, and love me just the way I am. Like today, my Meniere’s disease has me crawling around on all fours. They think I just want to see the world the way they see it today. Almost puts an (erm… ) wag in my tail.

    Denise and Chloe

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    • Hi Denise and Chloe!
      I’m glad you visited! (I too lived in Greensboro for many years.) I checked out the site and yes, I loved it. I hope to learn more about service dogs.
      I should write more stories about my dogs, since they are such an important part of my life — and me. I too have seen the world from their view a few times, for different reasons than you, but the stories of which are worth writing. Your blog got me to thinking about all of my doggie stories.
      I don’t know very much about hearing loss. I have two conditions with my hearing. Neither of which have I learned how to spell. Tinitis and another one, the other one is weird — I can feel sound. Just the slightest sounds I can feel kind of like the way you feel the beat of a drum. Sometimes my own heartbeat feels loud to my ears. Stress triggers it and I use relaxation techniques as treatment.
      I looked at pictures of my little girl dog (only 50 pounds and that is about 5 too many for her) after visiting your blog. I created her a “profile.” Not online but I’m sure I will post them as I write in my blog. Your blog inspired me to do that!
      I also couldn’t believe how much our dogs look alike. I think Chloe has a shorter nose though. My little one is sleeping now. She curls up in a little ball with her head tucked in between her legs. She came from the shelter, although I also believe that maybe, my girl “Free,” who passed on in 2006, kissed her from heaven and somehow led me to that shelter where I met her. Another story!
      I hope you are doing better when you read this. I look forward to visiting your blog again. Have a good day — you and Chloe too!

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