I was sitting in a booth and watching college football. Following dinner, after returning from the Oregon State game. The hotel was the same, having dinner after the game was the same. Everything about the evening was occurring normally. Until, I decided to wonder back up to the counter for a drink. During recent trips, I had seen the cans displayed inside a glass case. Thinking about trying one of them following one of the contests. On this particular night, trying one of the drinks felt right. Walking up to the counter found me feeling apprehensive. The challenges involved in not truly understanding what to expect. I believed ordering the can of alcohol would be similar to ordering other cans. It was one of the main reasons for trying the drink. Other than it sounded good while sitting around after dinner. My thought was in purchasing the can, it would be given to me unopened. Similar to the procedure if I had purchased a can of soda. This would turn out to not be the case. I had ordered cans of alcohol before, but it had been a long stretch since I had. In other situations, I have seen people order cans of alcohol. When they order the cans, I have watched them be opened by the individual behind the counter. Neither of these memories occurred to me when walking up to the counter.
The restaurant area of the hotel doesn’t feel large in size. On this night, there weren’t many people eating. The football game hadn’t quite ended yet. Even though, the score at halftime would tell the story of the contest. The hotel guests were still making their way back from the game. About a mile walk through the flat streets of Corvallis. I walked up to the counter and ordered my canned drink of alcohol. As I began filling out the receipt for my purchase. The person behind the counter had already retrieved the can. When I heard the sound of the can being opened, my heart sunk. My hand continued filling in the necessary lines on the paper receipt. But, with the sound of the can being popped open, my mind went elsewhere. Already morphing into a state of anxiety. Questioning how I was going to get the open can back to the table without embarrassment. It does feel true, embarrassment comes in many different forms. Often resulting in the expectations, a person might hold for themselves. I have been known to be a little too hard on myself. So, embarrassment could take all kinds of forms. From spilling the drink on the way back to my seat, to having trouble attempting to stand at the counter taking a sip. Causing me to possibly look funny and have a liquid spill, all at once. I distinctly recall the moment of standing there and looking at the can. Freaking out about how I was going to orchestrate the operation.
The first action I took after paying for the drink was attempting to take a drink. Picking up the can was challenging. Bringing it to my mouth was slightly traumatic. My hand was shaking all the way from the counter to my lips. As I attempted to take the sip, trying to lower the amount of liquid in the can. Which, might have made the drink easier to carry back to my seat. I failed to drink much at all, my hand was trembling. My head was also moving with the nervousness of the situation. If I had forced the issue of taking the drink. My fear was a spill would have resulted with any serious kind of attempt. I lowered the can back down to the counter. Eyeing a case of straws to my left, I grabbed one of them. Holding the straw in my left hand, I grasp the can with my right. The dominate of my two hands. However, I didn’t make an attempt to hold on in the same way I had the moment prior. Instead of picking up the can from the side. Which, forces my hand into one of its challenging positions. Having to rotate my right thumb toward the sky. I grasp onto the can from the top, with my palm facing the floor. Using my fingers to grasp onto the side of the can. This has always been the easiest way for me to carry a can or a cup with a lid. Once I had the can secured with a top hold. The ability was there to walk it back to my table. Free of any kind of spill.
Holding the can from the top has been a learned modification. Having found it to be the most balanced way for me to grasp onto a can of liquid. So, I grabbed my purchased can of alcohol in the best way for the situation. My body was tightened along the way back to my seat. The can being carried just off my right hip. The straw was in my left hand, hanging down to my side. The tension inside my body found my left arm flared out to the side. All the concentration in my mind was focused on walking steadily. Around the outside of the counter I went, between a couple tables. Still, without anything cascading over from the can. It was a moment that could have been made easier. Those with me would have been happy to help, even offering at points during my quest. But, I have often wanted to at least attempt things without help. It feels like there will always be information to be gained from trying. In this situation, I learned grabbing an open can from the top works as a solution. It was also a good time for picking up a straw to be used. Lessening the amount of times, I would be required to lift the can. Everything was navigated successfully on my way back to my seat. I sat down and began unwrapping the straw for my drink.
Having cerebral palsy makes many things tricky in my life. The balance of understanding when to ask for help, being just one thing. The balance of wanting to be as independent as possible is often popping up in my mind. I find myself wanting to discover ways of performing physical tasks. Leaving me happy with the ability to hang in with the process of managing my drink. The first idea of lifting the can to drink down the liquid didn’t work well. Causing my fear to elevate, until spotting the straws to my left. The group of short and long straws eased my mind into setting the can back onto the counter. With the reduction of my anxiety, the idea of picking up the can from the top, snapped into place. After reaching for the can, palm down, and grasping the can with my fingers. My slow lift from the counter proved the idea would provide a secure mode of transportation. I was satisfied when making it back to the table. The straw was unwrapped from its paper sleeve. I managed to dunk it into the drink without incident and take a sip. It was quite the process, walking up to the counter, and walking back with the drink. Experiencing many emotions inside the less than five-minute activity. But, that’s a lot of what having my degree of cerebral palsy has been about. Something that seems typical for someone else, can be full of emotion for myself. Which is why it feels important to continue attempting challenges. Finding modification to make physical activities when possible, and continuing to understand when it might be best to ask for help.