With a Little Help From My Friends

Posted on 11/02/19 by Dick Weinman

Once upon a time, a friend wrote a friend who had some influence on municipal matters. The friend of my friend wrote - emailed, actually – her friend who had a friend who had more influence than the former friend. This third influential friend coincidentally had a friend who had greater influential influence than the previous friend.

Thus, through the connection of a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend (don’t go counting the “of-a-friends” to see if I added them correctly), a single, solitary soul spoke truth to power.

Let me explain:

Once upon a time in a city in the Pacific Northwest, I wrote a blog titled “Taking A Walk.” I described the dangerous experience of rolling my mini-four wheel wheelchair into the hurly-burly harrowing hellacious onslaught of not-so-mini four wheel automobiles.

I was assisted through this jumbling jungle of traffic by the flashing walk sign in the cross walk, indicating it was OK to walk across the street. (In my case, I roll in my wheelchair – which, as you know, as a faithful reader of my blogs, I’m a disabled citizen and the wheelchair is my favorite, necessary really, method of transport.)

The obstacle that I faced, however, was that the pole on which the walk button was affixed was implanted on a concrete pedestal, which I couldn’t snuggle-up to, thus causing the button to be too high to reach to push. (I apologize that that convoluted sentence is complicated and abstruse. It was hard to write, too.)

Well, there you have it. I mentioned my dilemma to a friend who had a friend with some influence. What do you know! The second friend’s influence was truly influential. I received an email from the city engineering department in which an engineer advised me that they were sorry for my dilemma, but lowering of the walk button was in the works, but got delayed. My problem would be addressed.

Friend Power escalated, as one of the friend’s friends had a higher ranking friend. She, too, emailed me acknowledging how I made the city aware of how the wheelchair-friendly crossing was unfriendly for wheelchair crossers. Help was on the way.

So a tiny blog rode the Friendship Escalator to the top. And the top spun.

Dick Weinman is an AARP volunteer and our Assisted Living (ALF) guru.

This story is provided by AARP Oregon. Visit the AARP Oregon page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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