Wednesday, August 27, 2008

State Fair

My apologies for not being here in over
a month. Time goes by so fast.

An update about the flat tire problem
I was having - the new rim strips seem
to be doing the job! I have not had
any flats since they were put in.

And now on to other things...

I took my daughter and a friend of hers
to the State Fair yesterday. I knew I was
going to spend a lot of time sitting around
waiting for them while they went on rides,
and I knew that if I spent a lot of time
sitting around while in Balance, a ton of
people would ask me about the bot. I was
right. I didn't get 10 feet through the
entrance before someone asked me about it.
We were there for about 4 hours, and I'm
estimating that 40 people talked to me
about it. I was going to keep track of
it, but I quickly lost count.

What is interesting to me is who was most
interested in it. Actually, not so much
who was most interested in it, but who
was willing to ask me about it and what
they asked. Most of the people who talked
to me were women around my age. Some of
them wanted to know how it balanced, but
most of them just wanted to know how it
affected my life. There were also quite
a few men who wanted to know how it
balanced. None of the men asked me how
it affected my life. No, actually one guy
did say, "How do you like it?", but all
the other guys just wanted to know how it
worked. There were two elderly men who
couldn't believe what they were seeing.
One of them was so worried that I was
going to tip over. He literally asked
me questions, walked away scratching
and shaking his head, turned around and
came back seconds later and asked me more
questions, walked away again scratching
and shaking his head, and then he turned
around again and asked me more questions!
It was amusing. I bet he's still trying
to wrap his brain around it.

There were two young boys who asked me
a bunch of questions about how it worked
and what it did. They were probably about
12 years old. When I was explaining how
it had gyroscopes in it, one of them said,
"Oh, kind of like the Segway!". They were
smart boys. Future engineers/inventors? I
really like it when kids ask me about it and
when they are obviously fascinated by it like
those two boys were.

The other thing I wanted to write about was that
for the first time in my life, I actually really
enjoyed the fair. Growing up, I went to the
Minnesota State Fair all the time because my
parents took me there. I hated it. People
stared at me and I felt like a freak. Back then,
"freaks" were still a part of the fair and whenever
we went to that section of the fair, I was afraid
that people would think I escaped from my cage.
Really, I did. As an adult, I've never enjoyed
things such as state fairs because they are always
dirty and crowded. A person in a manual chair
gets his/her hands and arms filthy because of this,
and having a view of people's butts is, in my
opinion, not fun. Going to the fair yesterday
in the iBOT made it so much more enjoyable. I
was not looking forward to going, but after being
there for a while, I didn't want to leave. And
I'm thinking about going back again tomorrow. The
change the iBOT has made in my life is amazing.


Irv said...

I hope you keep posting. You have a way of writing that leaves out the junk and makes it "real". I just got an iBOT and have enjoyed a county fair, a steam engine show, an elaborate municipal garden and other sights. The balance function has been useful at the library and shopping. There are things that were pleasant surprises. One, the bot is a much easier fit in the minivan than I expected. I had thought I might need a full size van. Not at all. Two, the battery charge is a lot lighter than the charger for my other chair. Travel is not going to be a pain in the neck. Anyway, keep up the good work.

Shannon said...

Thanks so much Irv. I appreciate your comment.

Interesting about the battery charger. I thought it was bulky and heavy, but then, I was comparing it to the battery charger for my manual chair.... which is invisible and weighs nothing. : D Seriously, this is my first power chair and I am unfamiliar with other battery chargers. I do wish it was built in to the chair somehow. I don't know if there wasn't room for it, or they didn't want to put the extra weight on it, or if it isn't safe for some reason, etc.