A regular customer

G, one of our regulars is extremely disabled.  He drives his wheelchair with a stick mounted on his head and communicates by tapping out words on a communicator.  Were I so disabled, I think I’d be scared to leave the house, but G goes out to his job most days and has a busy social life. Recently I was tasteless enough to tease him about checking out the pretty girls.  The way he taped out “I’m engaged” and the dignified way he looked at me as it sounded out, made me feel rather small. Serves me right!

Yesterday he was waiting for a friend at the barriers and we got chatting.  Hundreds of people headed for the Soundwave festival were going past and my task was to call out “Soundwave passengers – buses to the left!” at regular intervals.

I was startled to hear a little mechanical voice repeating my words. G had typed the words into his communicator and helpfully kept pressing the button at regular intervals until his friend arrived and he shot off in his wheel chair to greet him.

 

Love among the ashes

Saw a sweet couple on the station – both of them good looking and hip in t-shirts and jeans, probably in their early sixties, but both of them with the walking sticks and tremors that speak of Parkinson’s disease.  They seemed in the throes of new love, nuzzling each other, cuddling and laughing intimately. It came into my head that they might have met at Parkinson’s rehab class at the nearby hospital.  Where there’s life there’s hope!

Happy Valentine’s Day to all my friends!

Star struck

A group of people are milling about near the barriers at the Junction.  When I see one of them having a makeup artist paint track marks on her arm, I realize they are some kind of film crew.   Exciting!

They chat and eat sandwiches until the Director, a tall dark haired woman in too tight jeans and tee-shirt and an impressive set of Tattoos, turns up.

The girl with the painted track marks asks me if this is a good job to go with acting and since we already have two actors working at my station I tell her yes.  (you can see one of them, wearing a plaid shirt  in the current Sportsbet ad.)

The girl is wearing a street hooker outfit with the most amazingly tall black shoes covered in spikes, which she walks in with great aplomb as the crew goes down to the platform to do its shots.  Her co-star (who has had to change in our toilets –shudder-) is a young girl in a school uniform with a peach coloured beanie.

I get chatting with the Assistant Director. He tells me it’s a professional shoot with funding, permits and and -well – an Assistant director. This is the Director’s second film and the Assistant tells me its his job to wrangle the actors and do all the administration so that the Director can concentrate on making the film.  Wow!  I’m in the wrong business.  I’d love to have an Assistant Writer.

But their enthusiasm is wonderful to see and reminds me that I too have a creative pursuit I love and which makes my life worthwhile.  (wish it paid a bit better, but then most of us are in the same boat)

The naughty bear

A small fluster at the Junction – an intellectually disabled man has dropped a toy bear in the pit and staff rally round quickly to rescue it with the station’s claw thing and prevent him from going onto the busy tracks after it.

This particular man is always carrying a toy.  It’s so odd because he has such a scary-looking face, crossed eyes and jagged teeth, the sort of face that would have drawn stones and jeers in a less enlightened time.  From the way he walks, I suspect he’s visually disabled as well. Yet he looks clean and well-cared for and seems happy in his own world and the companionship of his toy. If you talk to him he doesn’t answer. Perhaps he can’t hear.

It’s clearly a rather naughty bear. He holds it to his ear and listens to it and then he turns it over and smacks its bottom.  He does it again and again. Sometimes the bear is obviously very naughty and he puts it on the ground and turns his back on it.  I suspect was how it wound up on the tracks.

What I wonder is this – is this just some game with a toy or behavior he learned from his own childhood?