behind elevator doors

Many of you who know me seemed surprised by the blog name. Maybe it’s because you quickly identified when we first met that I was not wearing a cast and saw signs of physical weakness and/or disfigured joints… Maybe it’s because you have known me forever and so the question just seems ridiculous…

I am happy to report I did actually break my leg when I was younger. I was in physical therapy on a three-wheeled bike with my feet strapped to the pedals. My older brother was along and we were having fun, him chasing me on his bike. I’m sure I was squealing and driving crazy which led to the big crash.

For as long as I can remember I have been asked if my leg is broken on a daily basis. The frequency of this greatly increases in the winter. I know it is partially due to the weather and the slick sidewalk banter that’s quick to come to mind. My personal theory is that with sweaters and jackets, my hands are more hidden and it must be harder to tell.

When meeting new people or “friends of a friend” I secretly hope that my friends gave them the heads up that I have a disability. It sounds kind of pathetic but it prevents them from asking what happened, having to explain my disability and the awkward silence that follows.

Honestly, how can one appropriately reply and save face, “Oh that’s cool…” doesn’t really cut it. Apologizing adds to the uncomfortable situation, they are sorry for asking and then I’m sorry that I made them feel bad. 

The elevator is the hot spot. They ask, I answer, things get awkward and those darn elevator doors can’t open fast enough.

How I answer is typically a case-by-case scenario depending on my mood, where I am and my own first impressions of the person asking. (yeah, yeah so I make assumptions too. *ducking head)

CURIOUS PERSON: “That doesn’t look like fun. How’d ya break your leg?” 
ME: politely smile and say, “oh it’s a long story”

***EPIC FAIL: Often they won’t get the hint and will push for more “come on tell me, I have time.”  It just gets weird but I still use this line. This is my default “I wish you’d leave me alone”  or “you’re a drunk person pestering me at a bar/festival/etc” reply.

CURIOUS PERSON: “uhh ohh now what did you do?” 
ME: “Nothing, I use them permanently” 
***awkwardness follows

If my husband is with me we also get random jokesters who say things like,  “oh boyyyy, was he being rough with you again?”  I like to think I have a pretty good sense of humor but there are days when you just don’t want to hear it.

My most effective response is typically, I was born with a disability and always use crutches to walk. I usually get an “oh, I m sorry”  response and I offer up my, “don’t be, I’m asked a lot and you didn’t know.”   I toss them a quick grin and the elevator doors open…

I’ve been encouraged to have some fun with these encounters and make up wild leg breaking stories. It’s super tempting but I know my poker face is pretty terrible. One look at me and I’d be busted.

Going forward I plan to test out the new response I’ve added to the collection.
“Nope, I didn’t break my leg, but you should totally go to my blog to learn more!”

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