Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Law of Cane Physics

It's no secret that I am not a fan of the fact that my poor, bruised anti-ass acts up if it's forced to spend more than a few hours outside of the padded comfort of my bed. (I seriously need to start bubble-wrapping that thing). While the bookworm in me should relish the downtime as a chance to burn through my must-read list, I've been forced into the arms of reality TV because the only library I've had access to is a little...shall we say....minimalist.

In fairness, most libraries seem sparse after you've spent years at the University of Illinois, home to one of the best (if not THE best) library in North America. You want a book? The librarian helper monkeys brave sleet, snow and subzero temperatures to deliver it to your mailbox, which is like receiving a special gift from the literature fairies every week. If they don't have it, they use their magic network of awesomeness to get it for you, even if they have to ship it in from across the world. Your wish is their command. It's like being a celebrity, instead of instead of someone bringing you hookers and blow, it's some guy from Michigan's PhD dissertation.
You can see how being away from U of I's library is like being Jennifer Aniston after divorcing Brad Pitt. For this reason, I decided to brave the SkyTrain to go down to the Vancouver Public Library to see if I could find a few more books to keep my mind at ease while my anti-ass is recovering from whatever brutality I've inflicted upon it (like, you know, going to a restaurant).

I will spare you the intricate details of my library visit, but suffice to say that there were the usual homeless people using google image search to look at porn, the screaming kids, and the people who think that a nice, quiet library is the perfect place to rehash the details of how, like, totally hammered they were last night and how they, like, actually lost a shoe. On the skytrain! Which is hilarious! So hilarious that it has to be said at top volume for maximum effect! Anyhow, I did not get to take any books out, but I did spend a few happy hours re-reading Sinclair Ross' "As For Me And My House."

Whenever I sit down, there's always the question of what to do with my cane. If you lay it on the ground, people trip over it....and those people are never the good-looking ones who you hope would fall in your lap, but are generally angry people who snap something terse at you and then feel bad once they realize you're a poor, unfortunate invalid, but not bad enough to spare you the evil look when they limp off. If you lean it up against something, however, it's nearly guaranteed to fall and make a huge noise, thus causing you embarrassment when everyone turns to look, which only gets worse when someone (usually someone elderly and therefore only marginally less disabled than yourself) takes it upon themselves to gallantly pick up your cane. You can't win! When I used to walk on crutches, people would call them the Death Sticks because of their tendency to fall down on unsuspecting passersby.

There's a simple, mathematical formula for this, actually. The quieter the place, the greater likelihood that your cane will crash to the ground and set off some sort of earthquake. In a loud nightclub, it will be held magically upright as if by a forcefield. Enter a library, however, and it will fall faster than drunk college girls in stilettos on icy sidewalks, (which, by the way, is one of the pleasures of living in a midwestern college town). It's a law of physics. I would get one of those collapsible canes that fit in your purse, but they tend to collapse at inopportune when you're using it to walk.

Anyhow, it turns out that I don't have to risk pain and social embarrassment for a little entertainment anymore. My friend Steph (who's been chronicled on this blog before) is starting up a weight-loss blog where she's going to try to lose 50 pounds in 50 weeks. Check it out here! Tell 'em Arley sent ya.


  1. Thanks for the shout out!

    As for the cane, it is a pain in the (anti)ass.
    I think the most reasonable solution is to just never put it down, always hold onto it. In your lap at the movies, standing straight up. People will like that.

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