Eating out is hard sometimes. Not because I’m embarrassed to eat in front of others or because I can never choose where to go, but because of my Cerebral Palsy.
As well as my legs, I also have problems moving my left arm and hand. Often, I will know what I action I want it to do, but then it will go ahead and decide to do something different, or make the task in hand (no pun intended) much, much harder than it needs to be.
Because of this, I find it quite hard to cut my own food. I can manage soft things, like cooked potatoes and vegetables are ok, but things like pizza, chicken and steak are an entirely different story. Although I’m right-handed I have to swap and change how I hold my cutlery throughout my meal depending on whether I’m trying to cut my food or pierce it so that I can actually get it on my fork to eat.
If I’m in a pub or fast food place with my family or my boyfriend and I start to struggle I’ll ask them to help me out, but it’s not something I like to do if I’m in some swanky restaurant (which is hardly ever, to be fair). I know that I shouldn’t feel self conscious about needing help with, but sometimes I am, as much as I hate to admit it. I always try and pick something from the menu that I think I’ll be able to manage easily to avoid situations like this.
Then there is the issue of toilets. Places that serve meals are sometimes quite tight and always full of people carrying plates with things on and hot liquids so I feel under more pressure than ever to not fall over. If I can fit Martha or my wheelchair through the gaps between the tables it’s not too much of a problem. If I’m in a group, it’s okay too because I always ask someone to walk to the bathroom with me to help me doge anything that I could break or trip over. If there is just me and one other person, I often have to catch the attention of a member of staff to ask for their assistance and then leave a decent tip afterwards because I know that it can’t have been a very pleasant thing for them to do and I’m always worried that I’ve taken them away from whatever they were supposed to have been doing at the time.
For these reasons and others, when eating out I try and stick to local pubs when I’m going out for a meal. Don’t get me wrong I think that going somewhere that could be considered fancy is a nice treat sometimes, but I often spend far more time worrying about trying to eat, get around and dropping or spilling things than I probably should.
Hopefully I’ll get over this eventually.