I get a lot of compliments. It all started when I got a walking stick.
“What a lovely cardigan!”
“Oh, thanks!” Nice, I thought. What a nice person. I should be like that, handing out compliments like flowers to strangers.
But then they started coming thick and fast, and it hit me: it’s the stick! You see me, young(ish) – well, not elderly by any means – walking with a stick. You feel sympathy; you want to make my day just a little less hellish than it clearly is. You don’t have a flower so you hand me a compliment instead.
And what’s with the constant apologising? All I have to do is hobble in the vague direction of someone in the street, and they take an exaggerated step back, with an alarmed expression, and blurt, “Sorry!” One, you’re not in my way. And two, it’s not your fault. Really. I might blame genetics, or poor diet, or maybe even plain bad luck. But I never considered blaming you. Maybe I should.
On the bright side, I can be assured of clear passage when moving through a crowd. I feel like Moses before the Red Sea at times, but it does speed up progress.
Now I know what you’re thinking: next this ingrate will be complaining that we open doors for her. No, you’ve got me wrong there. The first few times, sure, I felt a little patronised. But these days, I’m all gratitude. And if you’re thinking of offering to carry my shopping to the car, don’t hold back!
On one particularly wobbly day, a teenage boy offered to help me cross the main road, bless him, before sloping off back to his skate park/Playstation/meth lab. I swear, I nearly melted.
But back to the compliments. More recently it’s my mobility scooter.
“Aren’t these fabulous!” Beaming, looking down from a height that two serviceable legs will confer.
Mmm, they’re great.
“I’d kill for one of these some days!”
Sure, swap you for your legs?
And yesterday it was my dogs, tied to the scooter outside the newsagents.
“Such beautiful dogs!”
OK, they look fine, but steady on… And then, of course, more admiration for the scooter itself. Yes, it’s fabulous, couldn’t ask for more. Ain’t life grand?