I was driving across the border to the U.S. in a rented car. I never drive really far with the wheelchair van because if anything were to happen to it, well, god knows it would not be possible to buy a new one. In any case, I, being a threat to U.S. national security (as all Canadians are you know), I was queried at length and the subject as to why I was driving a rental came up.
- Why aren't you driving your own vehicle?
- Because I have a wheelchair van.
- So, you drive a van for a living.
- No, I am a teacher. I have a daughter with severe disabilities so I need a wheelchair van.
- I'm sorry.
That's what the border guy said to me "I'm sorry."
In all these years that has to be the weirdest thing anyone has ever said to me. Sorry. Sorry for what? For whom? I am sorry that wheelchair vans are ugly damn things, sorry that I don't have a cool sports car (would love a little Fiat actually...) and sorry that I have to use a rental. Sorry that I have to go through this damn border q and a and be made to feel like a criminal. Sorry that my sex life isn't what I'd like it to be.
But sorry for my kid? For my life with that particular kid? Is that how people see us, as a tragic couple, mom and daughter, a sad story to relay at the dinner table? "You know, honey, today I questioned a woman who had a severely disabled daughter at home. Isn't that sad?"
Well, just so you all know, I am not sorry for my life. It's a good life and my kid's life is as good as I can make it and I am trying to make it better. That's all. Don't feel sorry for me or mine. The world is a big place and there are lots of genuine places for someone's sorrow to go.