Trains

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Helpful

Published August 31, 2018 by helentastic67

Helpful

Helpful

It’s always odd when I’m thinking to write and cover a particular topic and something really nice or sweet happens, that pushes me over the line to cover a particular topic.

Something nice

I am often faced with people asking me if I need help and if I’m offended when people do because I so rarely take people up on their offer, but would prefer people to offer because I won’t always ask if people don’t think to.

Do you need help

Helen, can I help you get to the toilet?

Helen do you need me to wipe your bum for you?

Wipe your bum

OK, to make a point, one of those (which has never been offered to me) is too much. I hope you can tell which.

People don’t really offer to do much at all for me. Family, friends, anyone, because they assume I’m OK. I mean I’ve dropped my purse in the entrance to a train station and I was going to struggle to pick it up again. The train was pulling into the station and a younger woman hell bent on getting that train just stepped over my purse and I took a moment to compose myself and thankfully someone else stopped to pick it up for me.

Catching train

I missed the train, but seriously, catching the train without my purse was not going to get me far.

Today, while in the city heading to my new Real Estate agent, I had gotten off the tram one stop too far and had further to walk, as I was walking up the street, a guy stopped to ask if I was lost or knew where I was going? I would have managed with some trouble, but I gratefully accepted his assistance.

Are you lost

 

He quickly did a Google search and told me it was another half a block. He suggested it was another half kilometre and asked if I could make it. I told him I would be fine. He had a bag of bananas and offered me one. It was very nice of him, but I turned him down. But it kinda made my day.

Getting directions

 

Racism

Published April 16, 2018 by helentastic67

Racism 1

Racism

Years ago, I worked in a Northern Suburb called Preston, back then it was a few years after 9-11. I like to visit Preston, the market, shops etc. But I don’t really want to live there and I worked there for about four years.

PrestonMarket 01

On a Friday after work, I was on the train heading home, the train carriage was not very full and I was tired after a typical busy week. There were the standard array of passengers heading home from work, maybe heading to the Friday night football or to meet up with friends for drinks or had started drinks already.

Crowded train

In front of me, sitting opposite me was a young woman shrouded completely in black, she was wearing a Burka, by some referred to as the “Letter Box” where you can only see their eyes.

Burka

I know ‘wrong’ again, but I didn’t make it up and by putting it in context, image you will appreciate me using it just this once. So off we went to the city. A young man (note no use of words like ‘Gentleman’) stood and started to verbally abuse the young Muslim woman. I don’t recall what he was saying exactly, but it was repulsive. He was suggesting she take off her Burka and hated words in Australia, that she go back where she came from.

Angry young man

Oh, so I did recall. Bit hard to forget.

The young woman shrank into her seat, nervous eyes darting around the train carriage. I moved my bag from the seat beside me to my lap and I patted the now spare seat and invited her to move over next to me.

I gently touched her leg with the back of the hand and told her the best thing to do was to face him. She didn’t want to, so she kept her back to him and I told her to not react to him. Although, it’s not what I did admittedly.

Speak up

First, I simply tried to educate and reason with him. I asked him where his parents had come from because he looked like he was more Italian than I am. I told him my father was from Italy, but I’d been born and raised here.

Educate

I attempted to enlighten him that every new culture that came to Australia, enriched us with their foods and styles. Now, you know, he argued and debated back with me and maybe I had not expected that, but the temperature in the train carriage changed and I had really had enough anyway. He was beyond my help. A guy was sitting facing me on the other side of the isle. He wore black slacks and a white shirt. He looked to be a Security guard, but slim build, presumably off to work in the city. His left hand dropped down to his side, dangling into the isle. His fingers twitched in a shaking negative motion. Without looking at him, I inclined my head a little and blinked my eyes, I just subtly let him know I understood. I confess to say when I ‘growl’ people learn not to mess with me.

Taking control

So, I growled!

“Enough” I told him. I told him to sit down, he immediately made a move to sit opposite me in the seat the woman had vacated. Seeing this was his plan, I growled again, ‘NO’ and pointing sternly, I told him to “Sit there” and indicated the seat he had been in earlier and so there was no doubt, I told him to face the other way. We did not need him facing us.

I think there was a moment where the whole of the occupants of that carriage shared a ‘sigh’ and I’m sure we were all relieved, we all think shit like this happens elsewhere.

I don’t know if I hadn’t spoken up, if someone else would have, I want to imagine ‘Yes’, but you never know until you are in that situation.

Another moment went by and we were closer to my home suburb and still a few suburbs from the city. Most smaller stations are unmanned day and night. I wondered what would happen to my passenger, when I got off and hoped that she would still be safe. I politely asked her if she was going to the city and did she have friends to meet her?

She said yes to both queries. I suggested she text her friends to meet her on the platform. The whole time she has spoken to me, it was a soft voice that only I could hear. She was polite, calm and neatly presented. She didn’t have an unpleasant odour, I hope you hear me when I’ve expressed my opinions about Muslims and Terrorists and none of this should impress or surprise people, however my part is.

Despite my disability and what others would perceive as a weakness, in a similar situation I would not be intimidated or fail to come to the aid of someone if I felt they were being unfairly persecuted and I would like to hope others would come to my aid if I needed it.

Not intimidated

Then that leads me to the end of my topic, for now about my exposure to Muslims and Terrorists.

Hidden Pain

Published January 12, 2018 by helentastic67

Hidden Pain 1

Hidden Pain

Some people are really quite oblivious to the strain and pain on my body when I’m out and about because despite my walking stick and my left arm being in a sling (collar and cuff) and that I’m out of the house, it’s presumed I’m always wandering around with a smile on my face.

Walking stick and sling

In reality, sleep or lack thereof means my left leg works even less than “I make It” and the eyesight in my left eye is worse than people would realise.

Often what I carry and how it affects my mobility even more.

In my own backyard, even moving a few small terracotta pots around means my left hip hurts! WTF! I don’t even use my left side to do anything, so I’ve asked an OT/Physio what that is all about and she had no words of wisdom for me.

Small Terracotta Pots

Yesterday, I went to the city, I travel by car to a train station closer to the city, then a train from there.

When I’m out and about my ‘handbag’ (hate the term) is a large street-wear bag with the clash on it. (I just like the image) the strap on the bag hangs from my left shoulder and the bag sits on my right hip and gluts as in Gluteus Maximus. If I buy something when I’m out, it must fit in that bag. If I can’t carry it, I can’t buy it…

But yesterday, I also had to transport a delivery of Ginger Kisses. I have a cool bag, big enough for six cans (so Australian for those serious drinkers; not me, other people) and in it were 2 large ice blocks (heavy) and 30 Ginger Kisses (cool).

Ginger Kisses

I got out of the car at the train station carrying the walking stick and the cool bag and walked the twenty metres to the train platform without the aid of the stick.

I missed the train by “that much”. A train station staff member told me I’d missed it. No shit Sherlock! Because he hadn’t held it for me for two seconds despite my efforts.

Missed Train

So, I asked him to help me put the cool bag on better. I gave him both the stick and the cool bag. I eased the two loops of the collar and cuff down over my hand and proceeded to have him put the handle of the bag on my arm up under my elbow. The collar and cuff goes back on and keeps the bag from slipping down.

The weight of the bag hangs by my side and doesn’t obstruct the forward motion of my left leg.

On the train to the city I often find myself eating my breakfast. Vegemite and cheese on toasted bread. Good breakfast for on the go, not great every day.

Cheese and Vegemite

I got to the city, scooped up my coffee in my keep cup in Degraves Street and got to the AGM for the Self Advocacy group I’m part of. There was only one table at the front that four people were to sit at in a ‘panel formation’.

Degraves St

I put my bags down and looked around. No-one! So, I dragged a table over. At which point my left hip is hurting. Seriously, don’t know what it’s complaining about when it does nothing.

Had the meeting.

Did some serious walking.

More serious walking.

Walking

More serious walking.

It’s now been several weeks since I started this post. I think I got lost in the details. Relevant details, but today I was off to the city again with that damn cool bag.

Cooler bags

I realised how the added weight changes how I move and balance and the impact on just walking by the end of the day…

Hidden Pain

Aussie Rules

Published September 15, 2017 by helentastic67

Aussie rules

Aussie Rules

I grew up in an era where Aussie Rules was made up only of Victorian teams. Therefore, it was called VFL (Victorian Football League).

VFL1

It was pretty stock standard that coming from a family of some Italian heritage, we went for Carlton, I’m not complaining, I understand Collingwood supporters that went for that team and more primary school kids growing up in Collingwood would greet new kids at school with the question “What team do you go for?”

Carlton

Day 1. New kids would answer with another team other than Collingwood – they would get a hiding

Day 2. Repeat of day 1

Day 3. Repeat of day 1 & 2

New kids decided it was better to be a Collingwood supporter. I heard this story about fifteen years ago and I imagine it dated back to when I was a kid also.

Collingwood

I don’t really follow any sport, it was never really a huge interest of mine. Apparently, that alone makes me un-Australian.

However, in the late 90’s, I went out one particular Saturday night in Melbourne, I thought I was very obviously dressed for clubbing.

I wore a little Dottie dress, white opaque tights with black fishnets over the top (or something like that) 10-up Doc Martins and even though I wore make up, pale face (not white, but no highlights, and bright spicy lips)

Polka dot dress

I also wore my red and blue furry jacket, despite this jacket, I was likely going to a Goth club.

I understand that weekend was the semi-final for the football. There was an out of state team playing and a Melbourne Team.

I caught the train to the city and went to get off at Southern Cross station. As the train came to a stop I was waiting at the door ready to get off, the platform was packed with football fans. Must have been around 11pm.

As the train pulled up and the doors opened, the older guys facing me looked behind them and the crowd roared.

train

Normally, they should have parted to let people off the train before they all rushed to get on. They didn’t look prepared to move.

I reached up to my collar exposing my studded leather and spike bracelet and scratched at my leather and press stud choker.

The crowd parted and I had to move through the crowd to the escalators. It would seem my jacket was the same colour as the team that played that weekend.

 

Red and blue furry jacket

Admittedly, I’m not a big football supporter and at the end of the season. I care that Carlton is not on the bottom, Collingwood is not on the top and the Cup stays in our State.

I guess it doesn’t make a bit of difference to my life who wins or loses…

 

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