30 September 2004

The Curious Incident of the Dog Poo on Euston Road

I knew yesterday was going to be an odd day when it started out with me sitting in a small, soundproofed room with the man who used to present Wheel of Fortune, with a paranoid conviction that blood was pouring out of my mouth (though that turned out to be just a mouth ulcer in a particularly unhappy mood).

Recently I've been doing quite a bit of media stuff for the Disability Rights Commission in promoting the implementation of new rights under the Disability Discrimination Act. You may have seen me on the 6 O'Clock News on BBC1 on Monday.

On Tuesday I was doing more of the similar, and I was on the breakfast show on Radio Five Live. This of course meant getting up and leaving the house at Offensive O'Clock. Being in a radio studio and being live on air was one of those experiences in life that you're glad to have had. Even if it would've been nicer had it been a few hours later in the day.

After a taxi came and whisked me from Television Centre to work, the day was fairly normal. Even down to the fact that I was supposed to meet a friend at 5pm and she once again demostrated her ability to be the only person in the world with the capacity to run even later than me.

As we wandered along Euston Road trying to decide in which direction to head for a curry (the best cure for a cold/blocked nose in the world) I was describing something simple and inane, in my typically over-animated style. So busy was I with gesticulating and trying to maintain eye-contact with my friend, I failed to noticed the giant turd on the pavement (despite the fact that my friend clearly wasn't as keen on maintaining eye-contact with me as she noticed and scremed "WATCH OUT!" just as my wheels bisected the steaming pile of a size which would denote it had been deposited by nothing other than a wolf).

I was less than happy. Especially as I not only had to clean poo off my rear wheel, but even my poor little flashy castors (which I had fitted last week) got such a coating that no-one would've noticed the lights inside. In some ways that may have been a good thing, as tonight when I went circuit training the instructor was so impressed with them that he felt the need to turn off the lights in the gym while everyone was running round to warm up. "How Lisy can cause a human pile up; method 16."

The only thing was, I couldn't have lived with the smell. And I like the flashy wheels.

Why was the incident curious? I don't know. I just thought it was quite a clever title. I guess "Did Camden council sue the dog's owner?" and "how can one being produce that much poo?" do bring in an element of curiosity.

The other odd thing was after my friend and I had had our curry, had a pint, and I was making my way home, I had someone come up to me and ask me if I need any help as I was pushing along the main road through West Hampstead.

"Why is that odd? We've been reading your blog for ages, we know that people offer you help in situations where you're in no distress at all because when they spot someone in a wheelchair, most people's notions of common sense are lost immediately."

Well, there were two odd things about the experience. Firstly, when she spotted me and felt compelled to cross the street to approach me, she didn't know how to use a Zebra crossing without angering all passing motorists. I suppose at least her opening line wasn't "Do you need any help to cross the road?" Secondly, she actually effectively stalked me for about a minute, following me close behind, not speaking to me and not being distracted from her self appointed task of following me up the road. Naturally I sped up, both hoping to avoid her, and I was trying to make my wheels light up in red, green and blue.

She finally spoke. "Can I help you, please?" It was the intonation of the 'please' that bothered me. It took any possible "Do you need help?" connotations out of the questions, and instead loaded the question with "It's 10pm, I've not yet helped a poor and needy person yet today. Don't make me lose sleep tonight."

And yes, I know I was on my way home from the pub a whole hour before closing time. But I got up at 5am. Deal with it.

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