I sat in my chair this morning and greeted it (silently), looking for our usual familiarity. But it was just going to be one of *those* days: the days where your chair, no matter how long you've had it, is simply alien. Yesterday, we floated over the sidewalk, zoomed through the world. Today, the chair is heavy, with no grace, no sense of integration coming back at me. Yesterday, the wheels slipped into my hands as if my hands had always had wheels. Today, my hands groped around slipping off the wheel, grasping for grip. Yesterday, there was responsiveness; today, there is weight. And so on.
What happened? These things happen every couple of months or so. The sensation usually wears off by the end of the day. But I always wonder whether or not that feeling of alienation heralds a change in my body -- did something get worse overnight? Better? Am I stronger? Weaker? Rested?
When change occurs, I usually worry about my body and my future, but I am beginning to wonder whether I shouldn't begin to worry also about my chair. Clearly, sometimes, a lack of responsiveness can be due to, say, flat-ish tyres or to, say, the kinds of things that get taken care of (or are supposed to be taken care of) invisibly in that tune-up no one every schedules. On top of that, I do with my chair things that designers don't usually think of as being regular parts of a chair's life. On stage and in photos/video, it all looks nice, but you can't see the effects of torque, speed, and other kinds of junk. All chairs have weak points, and dance -- just as it does a fleshly body -- discovers and rides right on through them.
I enjoy the implications of these fears: that my chair is alive, a body as vulnerable to change as my first body. We will have to settle on some things together and work together. I might be the wheelchair user, but it is becoming permanently apparent that my chair is not a secondary partner in our daily life.