Although it may not feel like it in this 90-degree heat, Labor Day came and went, and summer as I know it is over for 2014. I had an amazing ten weeks with friends at our beach rental in Sea Isle City, NJ, and I couldn’t feel more grateful for everyone who made it possible. Special thanks to my brother, Mike, who served as the conductor on the house train of greatness.

If you’ve been following my posts via social media, you may get an idea that I became quite the staple at the classy bars on Landis Ave. I can call them classy because people in wheelchairs don’t have to deal with sticky floors or long lines at the front door.  Hash tag side entrance. Being a social, 25-year-old, I tend to frequent bars on a regular basis, which has challenged me in new ways to disable my limits. How do I get a drink; how do I dance; how do I communicate at all over the loud music?!

I’ve found getting a drink and dancing to be easy.  I can always let my friends know what I’d like to order, but more often than not, random people buy me drinks, sometimes without asking.   I guess people just like seeing someone in a chair drink.  And like most people, dancing gets especially easy after a drink or two. I do what most people do; I sing along, make silly faces, and sometimes I bop my one shoulder that moves to the beat. This usually gets the attention of a few girls looking for a dance partner.

But how do I actually tell people what I want to drink or engage in conversation on the dance floor? This is the roundabout I’m most proud of. I use my iPhone. I don’t have the lung-capacity to scream over the loud music; however, I am a pretty quick texter, so I’ve found communicating in my Notepad on iPhone to be pretty effective. Not to mention I’m a professional at emojis, so my emotion is always clear. As an added bonus, I get to revisit these conversations the next day, which is thoroughly entertaining (and fortunately, always deletable!).

Just like everyone else, I have to learn to adapt to new environments and situations.  Because I am in a chair, I have to approach the bar, or beach, or any social situation different than most do physically– but not necessarily emotionally. Being that I love spending time with friends, meeting new people, and listening to music, I take pride in how I disable my limits at these places. I have many great memories from this summer, and while I’m happy to be back in Philly, I know I left my mark in Sea Isle this past summer!