The Ridiculousness of Self Handicapping

Two men, ragged in appearance and traveling in wheelchairs, struggle up the gently sloped sidewalk towards the crosswalk on Riverside Drive, one man traveling behind the other. Minutes later, they reach the intersection of the sidewalk and the street and wait for an opening in the busy afternoon traffic before starting to cross the street. The front man, lacking the upper arm strength to make such a climb, begins to turn sideways on the upward ramp of the median. As cars start to back up waiting for the two to cross, the rear man assists the front by helping push the chair from behind.

Now at the peak of the median, the front man waits for an opening in traffic from the other direction. The rear man begins his attempt to muscle the wheelchair up the ramp as traffic continues to backup in the impeded lane. After several seconds of futile effort, the rear man stands up and waves both arms over his head in frustration. He steps up the curb onto the median and walks fifteen feet away from his wheelchair, throwing a fit the entire way. After leaning on a traffic sign post for a few seconds, the man regains his composure and returns to his wheelchair. Having given himself away, he pushes the wheelchair up the ramp from behind, leaving the seat unoccupied.

The rear man stands alone in wait as cars go flying past, his fellow traveler already having successfully crossed the second half of the street. Traffic begins to slowly pass in the once wheelchair-obstructed lane of traffic, and a car slows to a stop as it approaches the man, now quite skillfully standing, from behind. The driver, with his window down and a sheepish grin on his face, exchanges a few quick words with the man before snapping a photo of him with a mobile phone camera.

As the driver speeds off and traffic on Riverside returns to normal, the man makes his way across the street. The two men continue their journey, one man in his wheelchair and the other pushing his own, now-empty chair.

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