Monday, July 28, 2014

My birthday in Tampa

A week ago it was my birthday. Straight from a disability hearing tat Thursday that injected quite a bit of stress into the weeks leading up to it, days after a Social Security training in Jacksonville and days before a disability expo here in Gainesville I felt I needed a break. Do something fun and celebrate. A friend of mine invited me to go along with him to Tampa. He had  ping pong tournament that Saturday morning, but I'd like to pretend we were going there for my birthday. Friday night my Foundation board had a last meeting before the event. Our new website was meant to go live that weekend and we were setting up materials for printing. I came with an overnight bag- my friend was picking me up soon after. The stress was about to kick back in in a few days, but for twenty four hours I wanted to celebrate turning thirty five- and looking good. Hey, I still get carded when ordering alcohol, that can't be bad, right? That night we decided to have some fun at the HardRock casino operated by the Seminole tribe. It's not about winning big or losing a lot of money, it's about having a bit of fun by the slot machines and not spending more that I could afford. My friend however had a bit of a different idea. While the lady dealer was smiling at him he played more and more and lost quite significantly more than I have by the black jack table. One thing that surprised me- was the lack of free alcohol. In every casino I've been to- and I have a cousin in Vegas- players get free drinks, but one still should tip a waitress who brought it. Here if you play you get a free soda or coffee. The casino felt hot, so we would often sit by the machines only so the girl with the tray would notice us and take our orders. Another strange thing- many machines had the lowest denomination buttons disabled. I guess they really want you to play high. Carpets. Have I mentioned the American obsession with carpets? Not only in rooms but out in the floors in hallways and lobbies. Perhaps it prevents people from slipping when walking too fast, but it's hard to get around when you're inn a wheelchair. The friction slows you down and it takes a lot more energy. It's funny- when I was walking in my leg braces and sticks the carpet was my ally and the smooth slippery surface was the enemy. Of course a carpet that was warn out or had sand or dirt on it was just as bad for the rubber tips on the end. I wouldn't feel safe walking on polished floors, today I'm advocating for less carpets. That trip was a gift that kept giving. Our companion who apparently started a celebration on their own - went missing. We spent the last few hours trying to find the missing member of my party. As my friend was pushing my wheelchair I may have dozed off for a minute or two. I had a stressful week and the upcoming one felt it was going to be just as full of tension. We made it home Saturday evening. I didn't even make it to my bed. I woke up ten hours later on my living room carpet.

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