The Wheelchair

Unless you’ve been in a wheelchair yourself you’ve probably never realised how much it can affect your life if something goes wrong. This is dedicated to a friend who knows exactly what it means when the repairman thinks you’re a robot. 😀
wheelchair 12.5.16

I’d been feeling poorly for a few days. My robot owner had tried to make arrangements, but as she was only communicating with other robots it was hard going. I wanted to be out and about on my usual trips, shopping, hospitals, visiting friends and all the other things that made my life worthwhile.

We had been together for some time so she knew exactly what was wrong, but robots find communication difficult. Finally she managed to book an appointment for the Engineer to call, but despite inputting all my symptoms and telling him exactly what was required he wouldn’t sign the prescription until he had examined me personally.

Days passed and I was stuck indoors, scarcely able to move and feeling more depressed as each day passed.

After cancelling several arrangements he finally turned up, only to confirm what she had originally told him. The medicine she knew I needed was not immediately available. The Engineer informed her it was hand made by monks living on top of a mountain in Outer Mongolia, and their vow of silence only allowed them to ship it out once a month. Their next dispatch had been due three days after they received her request, but as they had to wait for the official sign-off her order had missed the boat. Still, it would only be twenty-eight days before she could try again.

I knew that if I had received my medicine straight away I would have been back to normal by now, but as the days passed I became weaker and weaker. Delivery day finally arrived and I rallied a bit, knowing I would soon be well. Robot had tracked the e-mails religiously. ‘Your order is in our system.’ ‘Your order is at our warehouse.’ ‘Your order is in the hands of our expert logistics team.’ ‘Your order is being delivered.’

Robot sat by the door all day, waiting for the postman’s knock in case the medicine had to be signed for. Hearing a tiny noise outside she rushed out, just in time to see the delivery van pulling away. In the post box was a red note, ‘We have tried to deliver but there was no one home. Please contact our overworked admin department who will respond within fourteen days.’

NO! They didn’t ring the bell or knock on the door; they just crept up the path to leave the card and scarpered.

Robot tried her best but after spending three days listening to recorded messages from other robots even she was beginning to malfunction. The repeated instruction to press button 1 for this, button 10 for that, followed by ‘Please continue to hold. We are very busy at the moment but we appreciate your custom’ was enough to frazzle the highest spec brain.  She even tried in the middle of the night and finally got an answer. ‘Customer Services. How may I help you?’ Before robot even had a chance to speak the voice repeated ‘Hello,’ then hung up.

Blue steam emitted from her workings as she began the process all over again. Unlike some Robots mine had feelings, and was frustrated knowing I was rapidly going downhill. It looked as if we would miss the next dispatch from the Monks. Two months of inactivity and I was beginning to rust up, and sink into a state of depression.

At our lowest ebb there was a knock on the door. Our neighbour had become concerned at not seeing us out and about, and decided to check. She was shocked when she saw the state of us, even as she apologised for interfering. Robot explained the whole, sorry saga while I listened quietly in the corner with the last of my energy.

The following day there was another knock, and robot opened the door to our neighbour again.

This time she was holding two small packages. Not only had she managed to obtain my medicine online within 24 hours, but she had even bought some restorative oil for Robot to buck her up.

Within an hour we were out and about, heading for the shops and calling in on friends to catch up, both restored to our former high spirits. The first thing on the list was obviously a huge bouquet of flowers for the neighbour who actually listened and achieved what the experts could not, giving us our life back.


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