A day in town.
So on Wednesday I went to a work meeting in London.
Forty odd of my peers, plus a few to host the talk from ‘ Head Office ‘.
It’s been 10 months since I went to something like this, it being previously every 2 months or so.
Never having had a sense of self importance at these things, I never expected any kind of reaction from anyone at any of these gatherings.
This time though I felt trepidation at going, and did expect some kind of response, though didn’t know what type.
My partner, Sel, kindly got a taxi in with me, and we met our other partner, Helen, there.
So far so good.
A colleague I don’t know well, Kevan, looked at me in shock.
He hadn’t heard what had happened to me, he said, and was nothing but caring thereafter.
In general there wasn’t a great deal of reaction otherwise for a couple of hours.
Lunch came and we all communed in another room.
A few came and chatted, and were very nice, but a lot didn’t make any eye contact at all.
I didn’t let it bother me. I mean, should it have done? People are entitled to behave as they like, right?
The meeting reconvened, and eventually ended.
One of the hosts left early, and walked right past me on the way out. I’ve probably known this person for easily ten years, yet didn’t get so much as a look.
I’m pleased to say that at the end, most people I knew did come and talk to me and made me feel welcome, and I was bought quite a few drinks in the traditional post meeting few hours in the pub.
Overall it was a good day, with the odd little exception.
There was no wheelchair access to the meeting room, necessitating a four man lift up and down the stairs four times, and perhaps that could have been thought out better, but hey, no one minded and I didn’t care about having to be carried particularly.
It’s another step that I’ve taken.
At some point I’ll go to much bigger seminars and see hundreds of peers.
I hate my newfound wheeled status with a vengeance, and feel very self conscious
in front of people that I know knew me before, with legs that worked.
There are those that for reasons of their own can’t bring themselves to look me in the eye and smile at me, but I think that those might turn out to be in the minority, ultimately.
Or I hope so.