Image description: A space invader from the old video game sitting in a wheelchair drawn in for use.
And it was.
Entering the store was difficult because there were a young couple stopped and looking at their phone blocking one side of the door. The other was blocked by someone’s cart which they’d simply left while off getting bread. I know this because they rushed back, annoyed and upset, when they saw me reach forward and begin to move their cart out of the way. Yeah, I’m the problem in that picture.
Once in the crowded store I found it fairly easy to move around. For two reasons: first I’m a very good driver and can make it around people in a crowded environment without much difficulty, second about a third of the people who saw me flung themselfs, panicked out of the way. I used to apologize to those people, mostly because I’m Canadian and that’s what we de, but I don’t anymore. They are moving for reasons other than my need of space, so it’s for them, not for me, apology not necessary.
Here’s what was really funny though. There were, count them, three other wheelchair users in the store at the same time. None of them I’ve ever seen before, I guess they don’t shop early, and all of them, like me, moving easily around people, stacks of products and each other. At one point we all came to a passageway and we all simply passed. No muss, no fuss, no panic, we just passed each other. It’s like we all understood the space we each took and what each other took and compensated for it and cut through the space simply and quickly.
Seconds later, I was coming down an aisle where a man carrying a plastic container provided by the store nearly knocked himself out by pulling the container up and, he thought, out of the way. He pulled it so high, and was paying little attention to it because he was backing up at the same time, that the corner of the container clipped his chin. I went by him, with so much space between us that he could have set it on the ground and pushed it towards me and I’d still get by. I know I shouldn’t have found it funny, but I can’t help myself, it was like I was shopping in a store full of incarnations of Mr. Bean.
On our way through the check out, I saw one of the other wheelchair users approach where I was waiting. She leaned over her chair as she passed and said, “It’s like a whole new version of ‘Space Invaders.’
And it was!