After a hazardous crossing of the automobile battle field (see the last post, “taking a walk”), I roll leisurely through the parking lot of the coffee shop I frequent – and observe the voluminous number of cars and pick-ups - others must frequent it, too – I pass the time spotting the different makes that coffee drinkers drive. There is the occasional person who wants to minimize their carbon footprint, but most of the bikes belong to the baristas. The customers are fossil-fuel frequenters.
Perhaps because our town is a liberal, semi-affluent Pacific Northwest-politically-progressive-Birkenstock-wearing-latte-drinking community …..i know I’m stereotyping, but forgive me….most of the cars are Japanese made (the town especially succumbs to Priuses.)
Putting my wheel chair in tortoise speed (there really is such an icon) I spot Toyotas, Hondas, Nissans, and Subarus, with a nod to their neighbor to the West – an occasional Kia or two. From the Western world, I spot Beetles. And there are some USA cars, namely Ford and Chevy.
Slowing to pregnant tortoise speed, as I roll closer to the lonely, lone disabled parking place and the wheelchair ramp, I encounter a group of middle east students sitting around a table. They are usually in excited conversation, but they stop when they spot me approaching, and in an act of stranger kindness, one of the students leaves his friends to open the door for me. Since they and I are regulars at the coffee shop, they recognize my pattern and realize I need help. Could it be part of their culture to show respect to the elderly?
Car spotting resumes on the trip back to the ALF. Not much change from before, even though the cadres of caffeine aficionados or studying students or regular relaxers have changed. The people may be different but their means of transport isn’t.
Dick Weinman is an AARP Oregon volunteer and our Assisted Living (ALF) guru.