A dead car battery: for most people, this may seem like a minuscule problem…an easy fix. But for someone with a disability, it’s more like a severe annoyance or a supreme irritation; anything car-related for me is. Why, you ask? Because I can’t even lift the hood of my car. Oh I know how to to check and see if my oil level is OK, but Chevy insisted on creating a hood so heavy for my car that I would need to turn green and start roaring like the Hulk to even be able to hope to lift it an inch. Now I did buy the new car battery myself (thanks to my awesome roommate who lent me her car) but even at the Costco Tire Center, I had to have the guy help me lift the battery into the car because it was too heavy for me to.
If I could use one word to describe how anything car-maintenance related makes me feel it would be this: powerless. I feel completely and utterly powerless to be able to do anything when my car has issues or something needs to be fixed. Not only am I a woman, so if I go into any maintenance shop they’re likely to think I’m a complete moron and charge me three times as much because I won’t know any better, but I’m disabled on top of it so no matter how much I may want to, I likely won’t be able to do anything myself on my car ever (even if I learned how to).
A lot of people might read this and think “What’s the big deal? Just ask for help,” which I did. I have an awesome guy friend who just so happens to do most of the work on his car himself who is going to replace the battery for me. However, as a disabled person who is already limited in what I can do, it’s frustrating to not be able to do things…no matter what they are. I wrote in a previous entry how I want to be able to do anything possible that I can do to counteract those things I’m not (and may never be) able to do. Even when I fall, I have a hard time asking for help getting up, even from people I know. It’s just been recently where I’ve allowed myself to enlist the help of those around me to help me up when I fall.
I know this is probably one of the first non-positive/inspirational posts I’ve written in a long time…so see, told you I wasn’t always that upbeat and positive 🙂 In all seriousness, I don’t want to sound like I’m having a Primo Pity Party right now. I still know things could be much worse than not being able to do car maintenance myself. I know there are plenty of able-bodied people out there who don’t. This is why car mechanics exist. I just wanted to spotlight something that most people probably don’t think about all that much or don’t really think of as a huge deal and how it is for someone with a physical disability. It’s not just about changing a car battery, it’s about independence and dependence. It’s about a harsh realization that comes sometimes that there are things you’re just not going to be able to do and it’s about letting yourself (in this case, myself) know that it’s OK to ask for help. It doesn’t mean I’m weak or less than, it just means I have to be a little more resourceful (and a lot less stubborn)!