Last November, I broke a bone in my foot. I was fitted for a cast at a hospital nearby and told it would take six weeks to heal. After six weeks, that cast started to look pretty ratty. During a trip to the States for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, I sought out an Urgent Care clinic to get my foot x-rayed and have someone take the loathsome thing off, only to find out that the bone had not healed and that I would need to consult with an orthopedic surgeon to see what the best course of action would be. Terrifically boring (and frustrating) story short, I now wear an Aircast boot and administer ultra-sound therapy to myself using a little device that is supposed to stimulate bone growth. Needless to say, none of this has been pleasant…
…except for the cane.
Crutches in Germany look a little different from crutches in the U.S. – they don’t fit under your armpits, but instead look more like the kind of walking aids permanently-handicapped people use, with braces that go around the upper arms and handles to hold on to (not mention reflectors on the handles in case I feel like staggering out for a late-night hobble down a dark street). While I cannot deny that I didn’t enjoy making some people in the States feel awkward during my recent visit – seriously, do all people get those semi-pained, semi-oblivious expressions on their faces when they encounter someone they think is handicapped? – I must say that after seven weeks of using crutches, I was ready for a change. Fortunately, I found a small, wooden cane in the apartment we are staying in, and since I’ve got the Aircast boot now, I can hobble around without needing the support of two crutches. Thus, Bo now comes with a cane. Someone update the action figure!
On the days I don’t shave, I feel like I’ve got a Dr. House-thing going on, and I try to flesh out the more salty, curmudgeonly brilliance in my personality. However, when I’m by myself, I like to pretend I’m a dapper English gentlemen (it is essential, during these fantasy sessions, to avoid mirrors), some professor who smokes a pipe and reads from pocket volumes of Yeats or Coleridge. I like the way the cane tocks on the hard floors and the sidewalks. I imagine myself with a top hat … and then I imagine taking it off and throwing it away because, no, I can’t even pull off a top hat in my imagination.
When you were a child, you seemed to have the ability to turn even the most inconvenient circumstances into play time. Why was that? I think it’s because you were much more interested in the stimulation that came from an active imagination rather than the catharsis that comes through complaining.
The cane makes me happy because it has caused me to realize something. I’m thirty-one years old and I still get a kick out of my imagination, and that, as we say in Old Britain, is jolly good!