Sometimes, my life is nothing if not a series of awkward encounters.
As I make my way through life as a quadriplegic, there are times when I interact with able-bodied people that still take some getting used to.
This is one of those times.
This specific moment I'm referring to involves someone who is unfamiliar with my situation and offers me something to eat.
"Would you like a piece?" someone asks.
Whether it's a snack or a full meal, I never really know what to say. So to avoid total awkwardness, I politely decline.
I'm not really sure if they realize that if they offer, the only way I can eat it is if they feed it to me.
My reluctance to accept their offer stems from the stories I've heard from other quadriplegics about people's discomfort once they realize they need to feed someone.
The last thing I want to do is make someone feel uncomfortable from an interaction with me. And if someone isn't used to feeding another person, it can be a little unnerving.
I have come across people who think helping someone eat something is weird and uncomfortable, especially in public. I don't blame them for not helping because it's definitely not something they're used to.
I also know that there are those who don't mind helping, but identifying where people stand on feeding someone can be just as awkward as having someone actually feeding you.
It may seem like not that big of a deal to worry about, but I believe it's a very intimate act between me and the person helping me and I don't want to put anyone in a situation they're not comfortable with.
So if you're one of those people who've asked if I wanted a cookie or something for lunch, know that my decline of your offer is nothing personal.
It's just a way for me to avoid one of those many moments of awkwardness that have filled my life over the last 20 years.
But if you don't mind shoveling a few cookies or chips in my mouth, that's perfectly fine too.
I love a good snack.