some factions of the world that observes my musings may identify me as a singe de critique - as I do not speak French (which may be obvious) I apologise if the above says critical hairy potato in French as opposed to criticism monkey. Blame Google translate if it does. Its on those basis that I should clarify that the stick in the title is not a byword for criticism or other mumblous malcontent, instead its literally the shapen wooden thing I use to regain balance following my stroke. I don't really recommend having a stroke if am honest, but it has given me a new perspective on the lives of those with limited mobility.
Pre stroke, the idea of walking amongst the unobservant would already have boiled my piss, because I walked quite fast. Now that I have less ability to change direction or stop at short notice, streets awash with the impulsive directionless and stop start simple minded makes me even more annoyed. And thats before have even reached the pub.
To be fair, as I drink almost exclusively in pubs where I know the owners and bar staff, most employees have been lovely and caring and worried about me, so that has been fine. And in the two places which don't fit that description my stick and sad face warranted similar concerns, and I was given longer to sit down and carry drinks. The only minor mobility issue I had was climbing the step into the Beer Engine when I first went out. I had to be almost hauled up it by Matty. Last night I found no such issue with the same, so am happy to let those people who don't improve as quickly as I have to continue to suffer.....
The main issue has been that in the scrum at the bar people pay almost, or indeed no, attention. In the Bath Hotel I was stood back from the bar to allow the two gents buying their drinks the space to get out. After 5 minutes with just the stick for support I was tiring and two lady children came in. clocked me, and barged into the space between the furthest customer back from the bar and me, almost knocking me over in the process. I did say "woah!" as they marched off but were likely listening to Joe Dolce and playing Donkey Kong in their heads, so that explains why they didn't hear me.
One issue is that am trying not to rely on my stick lest my walking style changes forever. That means I get some funny looks when walking to and from the loo. In Shakespeares I actually got abuse from a group of drinkers who assumed I was paralytic.
I had left my stick on the chair in the front bar with my coat whilst I went to get two halves. Whilst doing so a group sat in front of the table and seat so I asked if they could let me get through to sit down. It took a while to get their attention and the left arm is still not back to normal so as I tried to wobble through the beer in the glass in that hand spilt a little as it tilted. The guy I splashed said "Don't you piss yer fuckin beer all over me" as I struggled to clamber over his legs. I saw no benefit in responding and besides I was too tired to argue. Having finally reached my seat they moved to the next table and my arm started playing up again, so I had to use my right to prevent further spillage, and had to watch my left in case it spasmed outwards and knocked my drink over.
After 5 minutes of slowing down my breathing to settle my heart rate a lady in the group asked if I was alright and I said " yeah, its just have had a stroke and its affected my balance" and the whole group went ashen white and started apologising. They asked me to come and sit with them and if they could help, and apart from the unkind outburst they all turned out to be fine folks. I did make sure I used my stick to walk the short distance over to them though...
I have mischievously thought about using the stick, after I need it, at busy times to get a seat. However, I couldn't. Not for reasons of morality, but because using it would slow me down to the point where I might lose my mind.
The main impact has been on balance and resistance to alcohol so have seriously cut back and now go out less to avoid the wearying walks between pubs that I would usually undertake. On the whole, however, its been a mainly positive experience being a mobility impaired drinker in Sheffield's best pubs, which is a credit to them.
Your very best health