The Red Menace

Mom has graduated from a cane to a walker to being pushed around in a wheelchair to a full-blown, candy-apple red power chair.  Now Bill and I are holding our breath, waiting for Mom to be able to drive it without taking out a wall or a door frame or scratching, splintering or denting furniture that may be in her path or near a parking zone.

She refuses to practice.  She claims that she practices every time she drives it to the bathroom.  Unfortunately, the rest of the time she just sits on the couch with the Red Menace parked next to her.  I think she believes she can learn to operate it magically, through osmosis.  For example, she compensates for her lack of steering skill by no longer driving into her bathroom.  She claims it doesn’t fit through the doorway when it’s going backwards.  Our latest conversation about this happened yesterday.

“I can get it in,” she explained, “but the back end must be too fat because it keeps hitting the doorway when I try to back it out.”

“Mom, you just need to practice backing up,” I responded with a loud sigh. “If it fits going in, it’ll fit going out.”

“Well I think you’re wrong.  It’s like getting stuck in a little window.  You might be able to get in but when you try to get out, your hips won’t push through.  Or like your ring getting stuck on your finger.  Its basic math or something,” she concluded with a harrumph.

“I don’t think physics has anything to do with your inability to drive the wheelchair in reverse,” I argued.  “If I can back it through the doorway, so can you.”

“I don’t know about that,” she pouted.  “I don’t have a driver’s license anymore and you do, so you get a lot more practice driving than I do.”

“What does that have to do with learning to operate your wheelchair?”

“It means you’re used to driving and I’m not so it’s harder for me,” she argued.

“It wouldn’t be if you practiced more,” I countered.

“I do.  I practice every time I go to the bathroom!”



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