Saturday, April 17, 2010

Oh grasshopper! To achieve balance, you must get the right angle

Achieving balance in my world usually comes down to angles. With limited grip and grasp, I often feel like a juggler in my kitchen. It's become second-nature to me to think of angles whenever I try to pick something up.

Gravity is my friend if I use it correctly. For example, my helpers leave sandwiches on paper plates with foil wrapped over them in the refrigerator. My mission, if I choose to accept it, is to find a way to get the plate out without spilling the contents. The foil covering allows me leeway to angle the plate this way or that and protection if I misjudge and it all falls on the floor.

Of course in that case, Rule Number 3 of living with a cat applies: if it hits the floor (and especially if it glints like foil), you can't blame a cat for assuming it's a toy.

But if I angle the plate correctly with my arm , the plate sails right into my lap.

Now that's balance.

The physics of this is not the most challenging kind of balance in my life, however.

Half-open containers of yogurt or applesauce are a much better test, as are mugs of juice or diet root beer. I think some day doing a slow motion video of me angling some of these things into my lap would be cool. I cheat- I use a tray to catch spillage, but let me tell you it can leave a pretty spectacular trail.

I do miss, but not too often. I had lots of practice juggling tennis balls in the crook of my elbows when I played wheelchair tennis, which is where I learned to not think about what I couldn't do, but figure out ways to do what everyone told me I couldn't or shouldn't be able to do. Since I couldn't grab tennis balls off the ground, ball kids or other players would toss them toward me during a match. I'd catch them on my tennis racket. The balls would just roll down my arm and -yep- I angled them into my lap.

By the way, I think tennis equipment should come standard in all kitchens. If you duct tape a tennis racket on, you could use it to serve a pizza too. Just make sure you get the angle right.


Wheelchair Dancer said...



Terri said...

Interesting perspective. Tennis was fun and taught you lots, sounds like.