I discovered that if you have an obvious injury like, say, a hand in a cast, everyone you meet will ask you about it. Since I banged up my hand and fractured my right middle finger last Thursday, I’ve spoken to more people than I usually do in a month. Doormen, security guards, receptionists — they all want to know what happened to my hand. Now, I don’t usually like talking to people, but I appreciated the sympathy, oddly enough, so I happily related the series of unfortunate events that led up to my hand being put in a cast.
George was the first one to ask me the real important question: with my right hand out of commission, how do I, uh, take matters into my hand/s? After the conversation that followed, I decided to change my story. After all, explaining 10 times a day how I slipped on rainwater while alighting a jeepney, landed on my butt, and used my hand to break my fall was getting tedious. “I’ll just tell them I forgot the safeword.”
“What’s a safeword?” George asked.
It’s not easy doing anything with only one good hand. Showering, brushing one’s teeth, getting dressed, blow-drying one’s hair, putting on make-up — all these take twice as long to do. That, plus I have to write with my left hand now, something my Dad insists I should be able to do. “I’m ambidextrous. Which means you are too.” Oookay, we’ll find out. (Wait, why isn’t he making my three other siblings write with their left?) I think it’s one of those things you’ll never know you can do until you try. Will keep you posted, gentle readers. Anyway, I digress. Another thing I can’t do: eat a proper meal at a restaurant. It’s not a pretty sight, trust me, which is why last night at Via Mare, I had the mais con hielo and bibingka, while everyone else had liempo and longganisa and kare-kare. Oh, and because doing the dishes is out of the question, I don’t feel like eating much at home either.
It’s the first time I’ve ever had this kind of injury. I feel everyone ought to experience this at least once. We take our mobility and dexterity for granted, we forget that there are others out there who have to live with certain disabilities that, unlike mine, are permanent. Everyone’s been really nice to me, helping me with doors and food trays and filling up forms. Thanks, guys. When you, too, forget your safeword, I’ll be happy to hold the door open for you.