When I travel to work in the morning, I go by a sight that often makes my stomach drop a bit, if I’m not preoccupied thinking about work. (I’d have more to be pre-occupied if I were still commuting for hours in Atlanta…one of the immediate benefits of moving to Lexington.).
I see a number of adult people being led down a hill to a bus stop where they are going to their jobs…but it clear that they are special needs, and are getting there with their aides/assistants.
I should be happy these folks can go to a job, one that they are probably proud of, and rightly should be, as they are functioning in society…others I suspect are going to a special ed center, from the location that the live at. These folks are holding the hands of someone, etc…
So why does my stomach drop – knowing that someday Demetrius may choose to live at such a location (he may feel better doing so to be around his peers or have some sort of level of self reliance), and that he’ll have to have someone walk down the hill with him to make sure he gets from point A to point B. Is this best I can hope for him? What do the parents of these people think? Are they happy, or is this the best for him/her? Is this what happens to Demetrius if/when we die? What happens if Maya moves away to fulfill a dream or doing something special with her life – and we can’t take care of (or really at this future point ‘help out’) Demetrius? Is this where he ‘goes’.
The bus stop is on the other side of the road from me in the mornings, and I can’t really get too close to these folks. Do they smile, do they do it by rote? Are they happy. Do I want to really see if in fact they are, or are not? Do I want to see if they look unkempt, or if they are properly bathed or cleaned (does someone help them with their finishing touches, because if they are walking to the bus stop, I assume they can mostly take care of themselves)?
I should make a u-turn some morning and drive by – but of course, I know if they don’t look like I think they should in my mind’s eye, that that drop in my stomach will certainly be deeper and a bit more worrisome. I’ll have that shaky, a touch more than uncomfortable feeling for the rest of the day. The real future feeling we all hate to feel at some psychological level.
But who knows, I might be pleasantly surprised and if so, my day might actually be great. It just is really a matter of whether I’m brave enough, right?
Why do I do these things to myself?