18 August 2004

"I'm fine!"

"I'm fine. No, really. I can manage, it's OK."

Seems to of been the cry of my holiday so far.

Fair enough, Edinburgh is far from flat... but the I lived in Cambridge for 7 years, so I think mole hills should have a road sign denoting their gradient.

I'm rediscovering muscles that haven't been used since... I came to Edinburgh for the fringe this time last year.

It's quite reassuring that people in Edinburgh are so willing to be helpful. Unfortunately when 4 people say "do you need a hand?" within the space of 5 yards, you do start to get a little terse. Especially when three of them don't quite seem to understand the meaning of the word "no" until you've gripped your wheels with all you might so you ain't going nowhere (the screaming "GET OFF ME!" also seems to work fairly well) which isn't what you need when trying to push up hills so steep that you thought they only existed in your nightmares... kind of robs you of any momentum you might of had going.

Why do these offers of help only come along when I'm fine? Why do supermarkets only put feta cheese on the top shelf? And why does no-one ever say "Do you need a hand?" when I'm attempting to mount a chiller cabinet in Sainsbury's just to reach the damn stuff?

I would like to apologise to the unusually polite woman who asked me if I needed any help while I was on my way back to the youth hostel this evening. I'm sure she's not going to read this... but, at least I've made my peace with myself. Unfortunately, what you probably wouldn't of understood was that you were the fourth person to ask me if I needed any help on that flat stretch of road today, which was why I was incredibly terse to you. Secondly, that stretch of road is cobbled. I was quite enjoying the sensation. Thirdly, that stretch of road was cobbled. You'd of got my front wheels caught in a gap between some, had me out of my wheelchair and onto my chin within seconds, as your pushing would've 99% certainly been less attentive than mine. I really don't think a fun ride in an ambulance would add anything to my holiday. Fourthly and finally, yes, I'd paused. That wasn't because I needed help, but because I wasn't using the pavement, I was sitting on the road, and I could see the headlights of a car, about to come around the corner. No-one wants a Lisy shaped dent in their bonnet, and again, back to point three - I really don't want to stay in Edinburgh beyond Sunday, especially not on the orthopaedic ward of the local hospital.

My favourite sight in Edinburgh so far has to of been the casino with a sign outside saying "Chinese customers welcome" - isn't that great social consciousness... showing concern that this time next year, Gamblers Anonymous might not have socially reflective ethnic monitoring statistics?

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