i’ll tell you what i want

i had a birthday recently, and i find it very difficult knowing how to respond when people ask me what i want.

my first response is to say that i don’t want anything. at my age, here in the mid-50s, if i don’t already have what i want, it is a simple matter to get it. i actually have all the things i want – books, music, cameras, computing devices, clothes, etc. i am surrounded by so much stuff that to ask for more is just excessive. one year, i tried telling people that if they really felt the need to spend money on my behalf, to please find someone more in need than me, and buy that person something. give to a local food bank or homeless shelter. it can’t be hard to find someone far more in need of stuff than me. what was odd to me was that most people said they wanted to give ME something, despite my telling them that i didn’t want anything.

anyway, what i started out here to say was that the real reason i don’t like all these people asking me what i want – well meaning as they are – is that the real answer sounds whiney and complaining to me. the only things i really want are things i can’t have, things no one can give me.

i want to go for a walk in the woods. i want to go for a walk on the beach. i want to go into town with my camera, like i used to, and just wander around for a day. hell, i’d love to just hop up and go into the kitchen for a snack, or go into the bathroom without it feeling like such an effort. i want to walk up the stairs. i want to go to a restaurant without having to call and grill them on their accessibility (because “accessible” means different things to different people.) i’d love to drive a car again. i want to be able to play my guitar again.

so, yeah, a book is very nice, and a CD is great, and i am very thankful for the gifts i receive. my wife bakes me an apple pie, and i love that. but if you want to know what i really want, there’s only one thing. and i can’t have it. i want my legs back.

ok, pity party over. you may now return to your regularly scheduled programs.


6 thoughts on “i’ll tell you what i want

  1. Your comment about varying definitions of accessibility really rings true. I understand the difficulty of saying goodbye to those things that most people take for granted. I hope your day improves. It is okay to be honest. 🙂

  2. Shit, here it was your birthday and you end up giving me something – no – taken away something, thankfully – the belief that disability is enobling – that I’m better for it when it’s really just a pain in the ass. But dammit! there’s got to be a pay off. Maybe it’s knowing that I don’t worry about whether life is fair anymore – existential matters that were the source of a ot of my whining when I was younger don’t matter – I just take my pills and get on with it.

    1. nick- thanks for your thoughts. i keep looking for the payoff, but still have no clue what it might be. i don’t worry about whether or not life is fair – it’s just not. i don’t whine because i know there’s no use. people say “life is good,” i say, “life sucks and sometimes good things happen.” i have somehow become a glass-three-quarters-empty person.

  3. Life is an angst-ridden journey with spare moments of sublime-ness that has somehow contributed to a belief in a God. Now, if God were a capitalist as I’ve heard from any number of Republican pundits, He (I’ve rarely heard God refered to as She even by Democrates) is most definitely using the system of supply and demand. Some may not be willing to put up with the high premium associated with those rare moments and question the whole bargain but it sounds like you and me hold on blindly and unquestioningly to that 1/4 glass half full. It remindes me of the Stockholm Syndrome and instead of disparaging the parsimony of life, we accept it as benignly cheritable.

    This would be a good place for an emoticon.

    Cheers Cousin.

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