Went to ADAPT’s 30 year celebration of the RTD sit-ins. Was awesome. Exhausted now from walking about 20 city blocks and then back again, but will post photos and video later. Had a great time– and I think I met a couple members of the Gang of 19. I’m not 100% sure (nobody seemed to want to brag) but someone told me later that some of the original 19 were there.
The other surprise of the day was seeing a high school classmate and her brothers along on the march. Last time I saw “Wren” (name changed for the blog) I remember being terribly envious of her mile-long legs, height near six feet, and how easily she makes friends. I hadn’t seen her since graduation, though I’ve run into her brothers occasionally, most recently at PrideFest. I don’t know her well, but when we graduated, she was pretty tight with some friends-of-friends of mine. Most of them still hang out, and some of the group even moved in together, but now that I think about it, I haven’t heard anything about Wren since graduation.
So, it was a bit of a surprise to see her brothers pushing her in a manual wheelchair at the ADAPT march today. Firstly because I didn’t know she had acquired a disability in the few years since I last talked to her, but secondly (and more surprisingly) because, to be honest, I remember her brothers as the type who’d be “too cool” to go march with 30 people in powerchairs, and not at all interested in disability advocacy.
One of the first memories I have of her middle brother, who I’ve known (not closely) since middle school, is of him stuffing a boy with Asperger’s in a trashcan and laughing, calling him names. I knew he’d grown up some since then, but the last I heard, his ambition in life was to be a transient street performer of some sort.
People change. Today, the same middle brother who used to make that Aspie kid’s life a living hell, as well as the older brother who I thought would be somewhere on the other side of the country in grad school about this time, helped a woman back into her wheelchair after a fall on the pavement that caused her to badly scrape a knee. Then the middle brother pushed her for the rest of the walk, as she was tired and shaken up by the fall, and made sure she got safely inside the Atlantis ADAPT building. The older brother, meanwhile, stuck by Wren the whole way.
People change. Thinking about it, I guess I changed, too. That same Aspie kid from middle school– I was pretty hard on him myself. I liked him and wanted to be his friend, but I couldn’t understand some things he did, like following me all over school every day, or provoking bullies instead of avoiding them as I would have done. The bullies started targeting me, too, for being friends with the Aspie kid. So, eventually, I stopped trying to be his friend, and told him off pretty harshly for calling another of my close friends “fat and gross.” Shortly thereafter, he transferred schools, and from what I hear, did very well in a more structured environment.
I looked him up a couple years ago to apologize, and I talk to him online sometimes these days, and when I found out he was back in town after college, we grabbed dinner together and caught up with each other’s lives. He’s interested in atheism and Libertarian politics, and studied film in college. I still don’t understand some of the ways he communicates, but I’d say he’s, at least in a very casual way, a friend again.