My dad was as hard on wheelchairs as I am on scooters. He went
everywhere in them. The wheelchair I brought home with me is four years old, and is not in good shape. Scooterman came out to look at it, and found it had two fatal flaws. The controller is half dead, and one of the drive wheels is going out. To replace them and the batteries which are also at the end of their life would cost almost as much as a new chair. And so a decision was made to replace it ASAP. Especially when Scooterman told us where we can get a refurbished chair for a good price. That’s the first piece of the puzzle.
The second piece is The Boyo’s innate ability to find things in odd places at good prices. I learned early on in our relationship not to admire anything I did not wish to acquire, because it would come my way. The man is the only person I know who could find a practically new wheelchair in a pawn shop. Yes, a pawn shop.
Even I was flabbergasted at this turn of events. You can imagine me saying “You found a what in a where?” over the phone. And he’s good, gave me the make and model number so I could look it up. He said he would take me to the pawn shop on Tuesday.
I couldn’t wait, though. I had to go look today. And of course, the pawn shop is across the lake out in the wilds of the Eastside. OK, it’s not really wild over there, it’s pretty densely populated, but they still have trees and birds and shit over there. It’s all made to look like cozy cabins in the woods, and all I can think of is if we ever get a forest fire over there, it will rival California or Australia. Think I’ll stay in my concrete bunker in the city.
The trip was a three bus ordeal, and I took Friday with me. She isn’t used to loading on the bus with the wheelchair, and the way it fits on the lift, it’s hard to find a place for her. She used to just ride on the floorboard of the scooter, and she doesn’t have anywhere to ride on the wheelchair.
Anyhoo, it was cold today. I went downtown and did an errand, and then proposed to go look at the wheelchair. I had used the Metro trip planner to figure out what buses to take. (Man, I love the interwebs!) And then I found out they were all commuter buses that only ran in the evening. OOPS! Could I get back across the lake? So before I set off on this journey, I called the rider line and found out how to get back. (I looked into my crystal ball, and I think there’s a crackberry in my future.) Then I called the pawn shop to make sure they still had the wheelchair. I didn’t think it would be a fast seller, but you never know.
So I got done with my errand, and looked at the trip planner, which gives you three options. I missed the best option by second, the one that would only require one further bus. So that left me with option two. And I took an earlier bus than was indicated. Which turned out to be a mistake. I ended up waiting half an hour at a freeway station for the other bus that would take me all the way. The time would have been better spent in Starbucks keeping warm and having a latte.
And of course, due to traffic, I get there right before the shop closes. The name of the place is Yuppie Pawn, and it’s a queer place. No electronics, but lots of jewelry and motorcycles. And I guess from the website, the also pawn upscale cars there. And exercise equipment, and DVDs, and one little lonely wheelchair.
And the pawn shop isn’t right on the street, it’s back behind a restaurant. But I get there, and immediately I know the wheelchair has my name on it. It’s been waiting here in this obscure pawn shop for a year, waiting for me. It is indeed pristine, and I am amazed at how well it steers compared to Dad’s. Dad lived in a building with narrow doors and tiny elevators, and I’m sure, being half blind, he beat the brains out of the poor little controller. It only has one speed now, and that depends on its mood. And the left wheel has the bearings going out, which sends you into a spin unexpectedly. After a couple of weeks with the machine, I believed it was possessed, and was ready to name it Christine. (Gratuitous Stephen King reference.)
And so, Monday I will call Scooterman to go look at it, and if he give it the all clear, I think there will be a new wheelchair in my life. Cross your fingers for me.