Wednesday, 22 May 2013


I never used to be much of a shopper, but now: I love it.

I love popping into town to get something and having a browse while I'm there. Because I can. And because it is so close to home I can go for 5 minutes or a couple of hours, whatever I decide.

Usually I don't buy much. Sometimes I do.

I can wheel myself, decide where I go, what I look at.

I can be one of the crowd.

I can do my own thing amongst a host of people - all doing their own thing.

The simultaneous feeling of freedom and belonging as I pull a handbrake turn outside a shop where something has caught my eye is beautiful.

Sometimes I will browse for longer, enjoying the smooth flooring, wide aisles, and (occasionally) music. It's hard to explain if you've never been in a rigid framed, lightweight wheelchair...but the absolute control over the chair - how it responds to the lightest touch, the precision, style and smoothness of each movement...even stopping to look at a tupperware box can feel (and quite possibly look) like a well rehearsed dance move. I confess that sometimes I feel a flash of pity for people not on wheels.

And when I stop to eat a Greggs sausage roll - I have my own seat. No need to wipe down a damp bench to perch on.

True, I often have to ask to be passed things from high shelves, or have aisles unblocked, or take a detour around something that feet can ignore but wheels can't, but that is just how it is. It doesn't stop me loving my trip.

Perhaps this is why, when I am shopping, I find the 'oh you are so brave' and 'it must be so difficult' comments so....disorientating. My world of freedom colliding with another's perception, my brain stumbling over things I can't quite understand.

When I shop, I am not being brave. I am living.


  1. I think its in our genes. No matter gender or age or ability. it just like Christmas but you get to choose all your own presents. Although that pay thing can be a bit of a bummer. @raymondillo ;)

  2. I think that this freedom is also to do with being able to get out and about again after a period of time where your body restricted what you could do. I feel the same about my electric wheelchair. I often weave from side to side, just because I can, and I like to leave wheel trails that will leave others wondering what was going on.
    I get comments about the control and sspeed of the chair (it's legal, does no more than 4 miles per hour) and love the fact that my children struggle to keep up wth me.
    Gone are the days of always waiting around shops for mum to have a rest, now I can outshop them!
    No more do I have to ask my companions to carry my shopping, I am the one who carries it all on my chair.
    I do get comments about how brave I am, or how difficult like must be for me, but I get even more comments from people wishing they had somewhere to sit or ameans of getting around when their feet/knees/hips/legs are so painful or tired, or something to carry their shopping.
    Getting a wheelchair was the best thing I ever did :)

  3. my friends get the best benefits - they take advantage of my scooter by piling their bags on it - but cos their my friends - they get away with it :-)

  4. Me too! I have e-motion wheels which are similarly responsive.

    I've never had any pity comments though.

  5. Now that I'm more able to take the steam of walking I miss using a powerchair when go shopping (uses to use shopmobility alot when I lived in Nottingham.) but now that it isn't available where I am and I still have to walk a long distance from shops to bus stop and then bus stop to home, I've built up my stamina and the amount of shopping I can do.

  6. Thank you for this post. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who enjoys the beauty of moving in a chair. I thought I was weird to actually enjoy my chair for it's gracefulness and not only the freedom it gives me.
    The pity comments confuse me too. It's OK when I'm struggling up a long hill but I don't think I look like I need any pity in a nice flat shopping mall.


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