Friday, November 27, 2009

Black. And thankfuly not blue.

Okay, 2 stories here...

story 1- Often I hear people say "Black isn't a colour." Okay, maybe *I* hear that more than most people, given my wardrobe. Hey, I wear more colour than I used to. So shush.

One such impudent critic recent told me "Black isn't a colour. It's a HUE." Wait, let me ask photoshop.... No, according to photoshop, hue has nothing to do with brightness. Hue is what changes red to blue, or green, or any of our rainbow pals. By photoshop's standards, any hue can be turned bright or dark enough to be absolute white or black.

Would that mean that black is EVERY colour? In colour by subtraction, yes, it is. In colour by addition, it is no colour at all. But let's skip the technical side of the semantics, let's talk about how people talk.

"What colour is your dog?"
"It doesn't have any colour."
"Doesn't have any colour?? What is it, INVISIBLE? YOU HAVE AN INVISIBLE DOG?!"
"No, it's black."
"Oh, shut up. You and your invisible dog just shut up before I slap you."
"I told you, he's not invisible, he just doesn't have a colour, he's black."
"Where's your invisible dog, I want to slap him first."

Story 2- The result of wet conditions on brakes has never been a friend of mine, (see joe v mustang, 2001) and last monday the phenomenon paid me another visit. Thankfully to much less grievous results.

Manual wheelchair brakes, unlike brakes in a car, apply pressure directly to the tire. Tires get wet. Wet is slippery. Thus, on a wet day like last monday, (it IS monsoon season in vancouver after all) my brakes became all but useless when I went outside. Thankfully I didn't have Caitlin with me... she doesn't need to be pummeled by rain if not necessary.

So there I was with my wet tires, loaded onto the bus with its wet floor. The straps were hooked onto the back ends of my arm-rests, and off we went. Quite often with sudden acceleration of a bus, I find myself in a momentary, involuntary wheelie. And there we go..

Okay.. this has gone on a fraction of a second longer than I expected. And I'm leaning back farther, maybe. Alright, I'm ready to 'land' again. Any time now. Grab onto the rail and ... well.. frig. And slowly guide the fall to the floor. While my collective mass had been leaning back, my wheels slid forward, and the straps that were supposed to keep me secure- only detained my upper half, which is hat caused the extreme 'lean' back.

By now, others had taken notice. "Stop the bus!" I heard others say, "Stop! The wheelchair fell over!" Yeah, looks like it did, didn't it? Thankfully due to the the minimal impact, I wasn't hurt, and I was still positioned pretty well in the chair. As the bus came to a halt, and a slid a little on the floor, I realized that the floor of a bus smells worse than you might imagine. Next time you get off a bus, find a pile of dogshit as soon as you can, to scrape off the germs from the bus.

This was usually the moment in the fall when I started considering how I was going to fix the situation. There wasn't time. Before I knew it, two or more guys were over me, preparing to haul me and the chair upright. Maybe they knew the smell of the bus floor, and that's why they rushed to my aid so quickly. Either way, yay for one's fellow man.

The bus driver checked with me over and over that I was alright. He seemed to think that a clamp that was supposed to be grabbing my back wheel was to blame for not grabbing. I guess it was a contributing factor. I got into the other wheelchair spot, made sure that the clamp was working, and that the straps were anchored in more useful places. It felt like about a minute from the fall, to when the bus got going again. By far my quickest falling experience.

I wonder how it might have been different if I had Caitlin strapped into my lap. Her added weight might have made my landing rougher. She would have been fine either way, using ME as an impact cushion. Would she have been scared, or amused? Or maybe her weight in my lap might have prevented the fall altogether. It's hard to say, but you can bet I'll always be mindful of the finer details of bus-riding in wet conditions.

No comments: