My MS Diary – Sartrean

My MS Diary (almost) No


Yesterday my partner and I partook of our weekly visit to the town centre. This ‘visit’ may not be on the same day every week but we feel a need to get out once a week. Our route around the town centre is very similar each time and has stopping off points on the route which in some cases are the same each week. Consequently we get to ‘know’ people in those places.

We also ‘bump into’ friends and acquaintances in the street and we exchange a few words and move on. It is rare when none of these ‘chance meetings’ occur. My partner walks, while I ride in my electric wheelchair. Purchases are performed by my partner except in certain shops where I am known, the item purchased is small and singular, and my partner is on hand should she be needed.

One of these regular stops, near the end of our circuit of the town centre and near our turning-off point for home, is a shop which contains different counters. We go together to one counter where we purchase an item for me which I pay for using a card. I do not handle change too well nor can I identify coins accurately anymore.

Yesterday was odd because my partner was called away within the shop and I was alone in the queue. There were two assistants at the tills, one of whom I knew from previous visits. The next available place was with the, to me, unknown assistant. I looked up, smiled, and tried to speak but my mind was a complete blank, after a few moments of confused stuttering I looked across to the friendly ‘known’ assistant and when our eyes met she smiled and I said hello and asked her, what is it that I normally buy? She laughed and said what the item was. With that the man behind me in the queue said that it had happened to him, he had been buying the same ones all his life but could not think of the name when he arrived at the counter. We all laughed and I suspect that everyone within hearing felt reassured in either: others had this problem too, or that they did not have such a problem too. It didn’t end there because as I turned my wheelchair to leave the man behind me asked if I know which way to turn outside the door? To which I was able to reply that I was being met which triggered more laughter.

These type of incidents could, perhaps, be called ‘events’, I call them ‘Sartrean moments’ because Jean Paul Sartre describes such ‘coming-together’ incidents. He see unity through common purpose whereas mine are more modest. A recognition of a common species, a common human condition, a common experience. Shared for a moment before we all depart on our separate ways.


(Tim Holt)



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