Monday, March 31, 2014

Food for Naught

I like eating, at least as much as I like food. Unfortunately I am not very good at it. I've got better, but it remains one of the things that frustrates me in daily life. Now I am one of the messiest eaters I know (although the messiest has no physical disabilities as an excuse).

The most obvious manifestation of this difficulty is when I have spilled something without knowing, and the dried stain marks my clothes thereafter. I didn't want to spill food in the first place, and now I have a badge of shame that I didn't even know about, and won't see unless someone points it out.

There stains are horrible. I don't so much care about the spill, it's just something else to go in the wash, but I hate going out oblivious to food accessories on my clothes. 

Soon after I had the strokes, I couldn't care less; that I could feed myself was enough. Now, though, I loathe the idea that I might be thought the sort of person that would leave the house dirty.

That conflict between my capability (sometimes I spill food, and can't see it), and my self image (I would not go out stained with food), seems irreconcilable. I don't want to accommodate becoming someone else, so I just have to wait and work until I get back to the ability to eat without spilling food. In the meantime, if you see me wearing food, let me know: I haven't seen it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

More to say!

No surprise to anyone, but I have more to say on the topic I hinted at in my last post, about shaking hands. Sadly, it is taking all my effort to go to the pool and post this, so y'all will have to wait until the bleak has passed.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Shaking Hands (Pun Intended)

A handshake is a significant social construct. Learning to shake hands as a young man was a defining process. Too limp, and you are effete, ineffectual or passive aggressive; too firm, and you are thuggish, an oaf or a bully. If your hands are clammy, you are a lost cause, doubtless cohabiting with the nameless horrors of the deep.
It is quite probable that most people have thought about this less than I did, but it's sure to have crossed everyone's young mind (and if it didn't, it should have). How you shake hands is the first tangible impression that you give, and it makes a difference. It is perhaps as important as being a good kisser.
So, it has caused me some distress that I have lost a measure of control over my hand, and consequently over my handshake.
When I was first dealing with the brain damage, I had very little strength in my right side, so I was acutely conscious that shaking my hand was like expecting a robust response from a towel; and at that stage there was nothing I could do about it.
Now, my hand and wrist are stronger, so if I haven't just been to the gym, where my grip on a dumbbell is often the limiting factor in an exercise, then I am more capable of delivering a proper shake. Except that I tend to miss.
Whether doubled or one-eyed, my vision is such that I have a hard time judging distance. Even if I make a good stab at the distance, my whole right side is bad at following instructions accurately: some of the motor control of the right side got hit. So, I'm likely to grip just fingers or end up in some weird contortion that probably signifies my intent to buy narcotics or cap someone.
You would be well within your rights to ask why I care. After all, am I not capitulating to the privileged hegemony of the able-bodied? Yes, I am. I want to make the hale people I meet comfortable with my disability and that means doing what I can to conform to the invisible, unconscious social norms that pervade the world. Like shaking hands.