Friday, September 14, 2007

American’s Don’t have Problems

This past week I have started using my crutches again. Don’t worry my knee is not locked or anything like that…. It is more of a preventative measure. I found that with all the walking and stairs the pain was getting worse, and I wasn't sleeping. When I use my crutches, I don’t put as much weight on my legs and can make it further around town and still sleep at night.

Over the years I have always been stared at for one reason or another. When I was in high school it was because of my wheelchair. People might not have even realized they were doing it, but everyone in the mall or on the streets would lean back to try to get a better look to see if they could determine what was wrong with me. Since moving here everyone stares at the foreigner to see what I am wearing and how I will act in certain situations. Humanity has a fascination with what is different. I guess I have gotten use to the looks and stares over the years. I hardly think anything of it any more, unless of course the person staring walks into a pole, falls off the curb, or gets into a car accident because they are looking at me (all of which have really happened in the last three years since living here).

However since I have started to use my crutches out here the looks have increased both in number and intensity. People first notice the crutches, and then they look down at my feet to see what is wrong… on my feet they notice very western foreign shoes (I still can’t wear Uyghur lady shoes that all have these crazy high heels and very pointed toes). Since my feet look foreign they next have to look at my face. When they notice I look like an American they have to start the staring all over again, crutches, feet, face, crutches, feet, face. They have such a idealist view of the west that they can’t believe any American would have health problems like this. The land of opportunity and advancement must have a medical solution for someone on crutches.

Good things that have come of this are: I now always get a seat on the bus, even if they are jam packed someone will offer me theirs. Drivers give me time to cross the street instead of trying to run me down. The taxi drivers will walk around and open the door for me. It’s great.

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