Improvisation: Things Are Rarely Exactly As They Seem
Without a doubt, having a disability makes life a little more challenging. Mastering the art of ‘improvisation’ can make it a whole lot easier and more fulfilling though. It just requires a little creativity, a lot of determination and the support of able-bodied allies.
I was a 20-something college student when I learned this valuable lesson. It was a gorgeous summer afternoon and I was getting ready to go to a party with my friend Madison, at another friends house. Having a few really good friends like her who were willing to drive my handicap accessible van so that I could be involved in various college shenanigans really meant a lot to me.
When Madison arrived, we did a few last minute girly things before we loaded me up in the van, like fluffing each other’s hair and admiring each other’s sexy summer outfits. Just normal college girl stuff.
Then, I rolled up on the wheelchair lift and Madison got my wheelchair all secured with regulation tie-down straps without even breaking a fingernail – she was a pro. Everything seemed to be going perfectly until she turned the key in the ignition and the van did not start.
I could have chosen to give up and just stay home and be lonely and depressed all night while my friends were all at a party – or I could improvise. I chose to improvise.
So I ran through a list of questions in my head at lightening speed. How mobile did I really need to be, just to have beautiful gay boys bring me gourmet appetizers and perfectly made piña coladas while I flirted with the straight boys? Would my manual wheelchair fit in the little backseat in Madison’s pick-up truck? Was it really a big deal that I’d spend an evening in a wheelchair that I couldn’t maneuver?
Madison and I quickly implemented our Plan B. She folded up my manual wheelchair and neatly tucked it into her tiny backseat. Then she transferred me to the passenger seat and we set out to have ourselves a gay ‘ol time–and we did! The boys were beautiful, the gourmet appetizers were incredibly tasty, and the piña coladas were even more perfect than we imagined.
Our seemingly bad luck had turned around so fabulously that we decided to temporarily leave the festivities to see what other mischief we could get into. We were feeling rather invincible–perhaps it was the piña coladas.
We got in the truck, did a few minor costume changes, and ended up hitting the club scene for a couple hours but realized it wasn’t the best environment for me to be immobile in. A girl needs to be able to move quickly to avoid the creepers who lurk around in clubs.
The night was still young when we left the club–it was only 2 a.m. So, we decided to go back to the party. We pulled into the driveway and could see the backyard was still full of sparkly, dancing gay boys. Madison reached to open the truck door to get my manual wheelchair out and the handle broke off in her hand! That was the only door to access that part of her truck. With a few shots on top of my piña coladas, thinking of another back-up plan was rough but we did find a way to improvise! I told Madison, “Just sit me in a lawn chair and make sure the piña colada boys know where I am.”
Re-entering the party was more of a shocking sight than either of us imagined it would be. The Hostess and her helpers all remained the same but the guests had nearly all changed. A new shift of partygoers had replaced the crowed that was there earlier. So, Madison in her fishnets and stilettos carried my rather drunk and small statured self up the long driveway to the backyard and sat me in a comfortable lawn chair.
Within seconds I had another perfect piña colada in my little hand. Everything was going fantastically until–one of the female guests started screaming at our lovely hostess. Her arms were flailing in the air, her face was turning purple and she was yelling so loud we all feared a neighbor would call the police! Hearing the dialog involved in this spectacle was our reward for mastering the art of improvisation that day. The conversation went something like this:
Angry Guest: How could you be friends with a prostitute who brings her baby to an adult party AND allows her to drink alcohol? What’s wrong with you?
Hostess: Oh, Honey! That isn’t a Prostitute and a baby. That’s a pre-op transsexual and a dwarf.