Originally published on Talk Wellington under the pseudonym Helena Bailey
Helena Bailey’s back, and she’s wondering why no-one is taking pity on her…
I’m waiting. I always seem to be waiting. But today’s wait is different. I’m hurting. Way more than usual. I did myself a mischief putting on a pair of tights (yeah, really; I’m getting old) and now can’t walk properly.
But I still have shit to do. Freelancers can’t stop for more than a week. I can’t let something like torn muscles and ligaments get in the way of hustling for my rent. So I’m standing at the bus stop, stick by my side, face contorted because strong painkillers aren’t doing as advertised, watching empty car after empty car whiz by. I can’t drive because of the medication and not being able to twist for the blind spot (“twist for the blind spot” – new band name?).
I am temporarily disabled. Thankfully only a short term thing. But still I think, couldn’t one of these passing motorists please offer me a ride!? Why don’t they? Why isn’t there more car sharing in Wellington and its suburbs? Are we all deathly afraid of strangers? Is this just a city thing? If I was on a rural road or the outskirts of town would neighbours lend a hand? Or are we embarrassed by our car habits and hygiene?
I don’t stop for people. I think I should, but there’s sanctuary in my chariot that means I’m safe from others’ chaos. It’s my space. It’s my time alone to listen to calming music. My road rage is expressed in solitary confinement, never to land in the ears of those I’m cursing. I know my partner gets nervous when I drive because he’s not in control – is that why others don’t consider sharing?
Whatever the reason, people aren’t picking me up and it hurts. I hurt. The stick will be gone soon and I’ll be back to being invisibly unwell, hoping that someone, anyone, will pick me up.
Carpool sign image CC by David Falconer