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Hey Girl, Hey!

Ever get put in a position where you just straight out panic? Your brain shuts off and all of a sudden, it feels like you are stuck in a situation where there is literally no escape route. Your wheels are locked, your battery is dead, and no matter how many times you scream 'abort' in your head (and maybe out loud by accident), you can't seem to maneuver yourself out of the quicksand, and you fall deeper and deeper in. Well, that was me while visiting an Assisted Living facility in Miami. Turns out, it is uncommon to see a young woman on wheels rolling around at 'The V' in Aventura (apparently, a much coveted Assisted Living place). Who knew?

I was there to visit my uncle who is now 95 years old and completely obsessed with the concept of longevity (who isn’t though?). He was also fascinated with the fact that we took a bus (yes, public transportation!) to get to him and couldn't believe that we survived the horrors - frankly, neither could I. We arrived at my uncle looking like when the infamous fictitious Rose family arrived in Schitt's Creek, fresh off the bus in a disheveled mess, or rather Toula from the original My Big Fat Greek Wedding after her date nights with Ian, deranged and on-edge. Accessibility-wise, the bus experience wasn't all that bad. My mom did throw her body on me to protect me from being crushed by the endless amount of passengers who kept on coming onto the already crowded bus, but Miami public transportation has ramps, spots for wheelchairs, and we had an extremely accommodating bus driver who said that I drive better than most cars he sees on the road. But this was a one-time experience and I am definitely not ready to repeat it.

Back to 'The V'... since they only served one meal a day, and that's dinner, we had to, of course, end our visit at that exact time when hoards of wheelchairs, walkers, and canes lined the hallways in anticipation. Once the elevator doors opened up to the now crowded lobby, and we were attempting to begin our trek back to Miami Beach (in a pre-arranged car - we didn't make the public transportation mistake again), a young 90-year-old woman saw me and my wheels, shrieked with glee, and blockaded me in the hallway using her scooter. My mom was already out of the elevator and heading through the lobby (because why would she wait for me?). And what did I do? Panic, just flat-out panic. Scooter lady said to me "Why hello there young lady! Look at you!" and did a once over on my wheels. So with my MBA-trained brain being rendered useless, I awkwardly said "Hey girl, hey! Excuse me!". She finally let me out and I rolled over to my mom, screamed 'abort' at least 10 times, and rolled out of 'The V' as fast as I possibly could.

So the takeaway lesson here is that when in panic mode (or even just because), say "Hey girl, hey!". You'll thank me later. You can panic on the inside, but on the outside, you will seem semi-lucid. It also can be used as a conversation starter as you attempt to step out of line but don’t know how to begin that daunting task. And please, do not assume that only the older generation can be on wheels and/or disabled. It is a stereotype that just needs to end. I am not some sort of rare species and do not need to be treated as such. It should be a normal thing for a 24-year-old on wheels to visit her uncle in an Assistive Living facility looking still quite frazzled even two hours after a hellish bus ride - thank you very much.

Adapting our new mantra for 2024. Will let you know how it goes.

So, "Hey girl, hey!"...

Next Up: The Finish Line...Is There Even Such a Thing as a Finish Line?

This is #TalesofWanderlust by Peri. XX  



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