Well that was annoying and humiliating. After a day of mostly being able to do stuff, feeling fairly robust, I hovered in my car for 20 minutes to get a parking space in front of That Cafe so that I could walk in instead of wheeling. Then I sat in the car for a few more minutes thinking, "Can I do this? Should I? Have I hit my limit for the day? Can I be in there and manage everything and make it to the bathroom and back and get my coffee and find a place to sit?"
I had been picturing how I would be in there looking very vertical and might run into someone I know and be all nonchalant if they were surprised, gently buffing my fingernails against my imaginary velvet smoking jacket and saying "Oh... yes... walking. It's nothing, really." So I crutched in and immediately ran into someone I know who looked surprised and I acted nonchalant and put my stuff down.
The line, which is part of what I was worried about, was just one guy. After I stood there behind him for a while (and apparently he had some complicated things to discuss about fancy varieties of coffee from somewhere specific to the person behind the counter, who looked annoyed) I realized the standing in line thing was not so much going to work and my legs were all wobbly. I scooted around the coffee-bean-snob to lean my elbows on the counter and hope that maybe another person would come take my order.
(In retrospect, maybe the barista thought I was trying to cut in line or was acting huffy and impatient?)
So after a while longer I asked for coffee and a donut. I wanted to ask them if someone would mind bringing the coffee to me but then I figured that would be too hard and I would just ask someone else to get it for me or do it slowly on one crutch. I paid and stuck some money in the tip jar and sat down... Then got up a couple of times to check if there was a donut for me... and realized I had indeed made an enormous mistake and shoudl just go get my wheelchair. But meanwhile the guy I knew asked me if my legs were getting stronger and stronger. I said yes and then felt stupid that I was about to haul my ass back to the car and come back on wheels. And finally got up again and asked about the pastry. The barista told me abruptly that I hadn't ordered one. I said I had. They said I hadn't. I didn't mind... just figured I'd order it now if it didn't register the first time... but I said "But, didn't you give me 2 bucks back, so I must have ordered it since I paid like 7 or 8 dollars". They said no and so I went back to the table & then realized the 2 bucks was actually a 1 and a 5. So I went back to tell them that, and to order the pastry this time for real and pay for it. I said something like "Oh sorry it was 6 bucks and i thought it was 2, no big deal..." Then they yelled at me and said I needed to wait my turn (there was only one person; not a giant line I was cutting in front of; and I was endeavoring to make some eye contact with that person to get tacit permission, which I expected, since I am obviously fucking crippled.) But instead the person behind the counter continued yelling at me and saying that they did not appreciate being accused of stealing and that I was rude.
I said I was not accusing anyone of anything but that as far as I knew I had ordered a thing.. and was just asking for it, because I had expected it, and it wasn't important, and I had mistaken the amount of change. It was all kind of dumb and overwhelming.
Meanwhile my legs hurt like fuck and I was about to cry from that and from frustration that I had misjudged my ability to be walking around. I really had to pee but I realized I couldn't cope with the bathroom, getting through the crowded room, getting the coffee which seemed impossible now, on legs. So as I sat there in the chair next to my acquaintance I realized also that if I went and got the wheelchair it would look sort of weird or like I was doing it on purpose to make some kind of point. Soooooo... I tried to explain a little to P. that I just needed to leave but flubbed it.. could not explain... did not want to cry... felt suddenly angry at myself for not asking him for help... and at the whole thing... and just sort of overwhelmingly angry and humiliated and unable to explain. So I drove off and cried a while and Zond-7 rescued me. Now we are both working from bed, a good place to be. And there are delicious tamales. And pastries.
I remember that it was rough trying to transition out of the chair, and this is why. Once you are used to using a wheelchair it is all totally fine... and I also adjusted to popping in and out of the chair without too much judgement on myself for it, very comfortably. But once I decided I am trying to get out of the chair, it's all difficult again.
Also, I'm feeling so shitty because I made up an artificial goal for myself and then felt like I failed. In front of a lot of people (who didn't notice, or care, of course; but maybe just a little, and that makes it so much more hideous.) And then I think "But I'm not the kind of person who cares what other people think of me, so why do I feel humiliated and bothered?" But I did feel it, and do!
And partly I'm bothered because .. as Zond-7 just pointed out so helpfully... you accept yourself how you are, and then you make up your mind you want to change, so you're essentially saying "I want to be this other thing, because I like it better", which is unsettling to identity and certainty.
If I'd just decided to go into there in the chair, everything would have been fine, I would have been happy and been able to get my things and wait in line and carry stuff and use the bathroom and be social, without any fuss or worry.
I hope this explains also why I get so anxious about whether to use the crutches or chair in various situations. Usually, I use the chair unless I have someone with me for support and back up (since they can always go get the chair for me, and do the difficult line-standing and fetching activities.)
Well, as usual when I feel turbulent and embarrassed over something fairly trivial the solution is to process it thoroughly in public to make sure I'm being entirely honest.
The people in the cafe were mildly jerky, but I don't blame them for the bits of things that have to do with me pushing my own physical limits and not quite making it.
It's lovely to be in bed now. I feel all perturbed and raw from having cried and felt so annoyed with myself and everything and it is best to hug a pillow for a while and perhaps have a nap.