I know that I jerk – or, spasm, as it is – but, why is she jerking?

This all started minutes ago, when I entered this bank, wanting to transfer funds from one account to another. However, rather than it being a teller transaction, I had to go into the office of the financial specialist, who I’d never meet. When I got to her door, there was an elderly woman already in the office, ranting about her bounced checks at the local pharmacy. Finally, the elderly woman saw me waiting, and excused herself. And, that’s where all of the jerking – or, spasming, as it is – began.

“Can I help you,” Sharon, the financial specialist asked, standing in the doorway of her office, her bright blue, classic business suit painting a professional image, made especially dramatic by her slender, six-feet-tall-on-heels figure.

“I need to make a funds transfer,” I said, with a slight spasm.

And, in among the most remarkable scenes that I’ve witnessed, then she spasmed – not just a little flinch, but a flailing of her whole body, like Peter Burns in the classic Talking Heads video, as if her feet were anchored to the floor and her upper body was struggling to find its balance, arms flying through space.

But, just as I was awestruck, she stopped spasming, returning to normality.

“Sure,” she says, eloquently pivoting on her three-inch heels. “Come on in.”

As I followed her into her office, she intuitively moved a chair out of my way, so that I could pull in front of here desk. Here movements were so graceful that it seemed impossible that she spasmed so severely moments before. She sat in her chair, and I reached in my shirt pocket for my account information, with my usual spastic movements. And, when I looked up, back across the desk, she was spasming, too. I tried my best to hand her the paper, but every time my hand jerked, so did hers, making it like two airplanes trying to transfer cargo in mid air. Finally, I slapped the paper on the desk, and slid it to her.

“All the account information is on this paper,” I said, watching her read it off the desk as she typed into her computer.

So, here we sit, periodically jerking.

Now, getting back to my original question, I know why I’m jerking – I have cerebral palsy, for the whole world to see. But, why is she jerking, and why does she only jerk when I jerk?

If I knew why she was jerking, I wouldn’t be the least bit concerned. However, because she only jerks when I jerk, and I don’t know why, I’m intrigued. Maybe I should ask her why she jerks when I jerk? But, wouldn’t that be rude? Or, maybe she doesn’t know she’s jerking. Then again, I know when I jerk, so she must know, too. And, I never mind when people ask me about my disability, so maybe I should just ask her, bringing all of this jerking into the open? But, isn’t it wrong of me to presume that others are comfortable discussing their disabilities, and who am I to demand an explanation?

“Is it cold outside?” she asks.

“A little,” I say. “…Not bad.”

“It has been warming up,” she says, typing away.

Now, this is nice – she’s entering my transfer, we’re chatting, and there’s no jerking.

“Is there a fee for this transfer?” I ask, with a slight spasm.

“Yes,” she says, with her own spasm, slightly grimacing. “It’s an in-branch transaction.”

“Well, there shouldn’t be,” I say, my neck spasming. “I tried making this transaction online, but your system won’t allow it.”

“Let me call in the manger, and see if I can waive the fee, ” she says, picking up the phone, spasming with the receiver in her hand.

A woman soon walks in, who I recognize as the branch manager, and now is my chance to see a third person’s reaction to all of this jerking.

“I’m transferring funds from one account to another because your online system wouldn’t allow it, but Sharon tells me that there’s a in-branch fee,” I say, spasming, looking at Sharon to watch her spasm, then capture the manager’s reaction.

But, Sharon doesn’t spasm, calmly stating, “Can we waive the fee for Mr. Smith?”

“Sure,” the manager says, “take the fee off for him.”

“Thank you,” I say, looking Sharon square in her eyes, deliberately slipping my leg off its legrest, throwing off my balance, fostering spasms that are impossible not to notice.

“You’re welcome, Mr. Smith,” Sharon says, gracefully returning to her computer, typing at fast pace.

I sign the form authorizing the transfer, spasming here and there, with the manager watching, and Sharon remaining as steady as a surgeon.

The manager leaves, and Sharon thanks me for my business.

“You’re welcome, and I appreciate your help,” I say with a twitch.

“Certainly,” she says, twitching, too.

“I knew I wasn’t imagining it,” I say.

“Pardon me?” she asks.

“Every time I jerk, you jerk,” I say. “But, when your boss was in here, you didn’t jerk.”

“I know,” she says, walking to her door, hinting that I should leave.

“OK,” I say, rolling toward the door. “You know, you and I should have tea sometime.”


Author: Mark E. Smith

The literary side of the WheelchairJunkie

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: