December 29, 2008
A Typical Day on the Planet Aphasia
We got a late start this morning and it was well after noon before I sent my husband, Don, off to get started on his shower. An hour later I went to check on what was taking him so long to get his pre-shower routine out of the way and I found him sitting in his wheelchair in front of the TV in bedroom, absorbed in a soap opera. He hadn’t even begun the process yet!
Being the sweet, understanding wifey poo that I am---a woman who is in full command of the entire English language---I said, “What are you doing? It’s going to be fucking dark by the time we get to the grocery store!”
Don pointed to his favorite shrink from the Bold and the Beautiful soap opera whose beautiful face was filling up the TV screen. Taylor was the Friday cliff hanger. No wonder he couldn’t leave the show, he’s had a crush on her for three years. But I had his attention now and he proved it by wrapping his language disorder, aphasia, around a few of the words from the sentence I had just said. Yes, you can guess which words, but that wicked bitch Aphasia, she was messing with his head and the words came out as “sucking bark” instead of “fucking dark.”
I hung my head in shame. I knew what was coming and twenty lashes couldn't make me queue him to the proper pronunciation of my crude language. Sure enough, for the next hour I was treated to the ‘Sucking Bark Opera,’ sang at the top of Don’s lungs. The man only has a daily vocabulary of twenty-five words but he can sing one and two word “operas” just fine and dandy. When you’re not busy hating Aphasia, you’ve got to love her sense of humor. There’s a certain kind of poetic justice in the fact I should have an hour long reminder that I have to quit swearing. Aphasia, she took Don’s ability to talk factory profanity away from him and gave it to me. Now you know why I call her a wicked bitch.
Before cruising the aisles at the grocery store, I asked Don to watch my purse and our jackets in the shopping cart outside of the restroom door. He agreed. I did my thing and came out to find the cart deserted and Don twenty feet way. His back was to the cart and he was pointing to the label on the back of a woman’s jeans and she was saying, “You like my Levi’s?”
“Yes, yes,” he answered back. Don misses wearing Levi’s. They aren’t wheelchair or independent dressing compatible but he never misses an opportunity to point out a Levi label on the back of a woman’s butt. Guys in wheelchairs can get away with things like that.
“Don,” I teased, coming up behind him with the cart, “thanks for keeping an eye on my purse.”
He didn’t miss a beat. He pointed to the woman and said, “She.”
“She was watching the cart?”
“Yes!” he said with a wide-eyed innocent look of a little boy.
The woman winked at Don and agreed. He makes friends and finds co-conspirators every where.
I left the front area of the grocery store as Don was rolling off to the little bank at the front to collect some free pop corn and to get coffee at the Starbucks concession next door. My mini-vacation from the Planet Aphasia was about to begin. I was off to find the Red Baron.
Jean Riva ©
painting: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec