Volkswagens and Porsches

by

TC

As usual - I don't own Oracle or Nightwing, I'm just playing with DC's toys in a not-for-profit way and will put them back neatly when I'm done.

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The full saying that the title is based on comes from a Physics teacher and professor I had in high school; he told me the following when I was struggling to grasp some abstract concepts and it seemed like everybody else in class got it and I couldn't:

There are the people in life who are like Porsches - they're bright and flashy, they seem to get everything - and the best of everything, too - always faster than people like you - the Volkswagens of life. You're not flashy; you tend to move a little slowly - but surely.

Porsches may go faster on the level roads of life, but it's the Volkwagens that can a) climb the mountains and b) they're usually still running even after the Porsches sputter and die. You're the ones that really accomplish everything in life at the end of it all.

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Having said that mouthful, I see Barbara Gordon like a Volkswagen - she's not slow at all - but she keeps going with incredible courage after all that's happened to her in the DC world.

This vignette's dedicated to those who keep trying no matter what the odds are, those who go on despite everything that happens to them, to Peggie on FF.net and my mom, who are the embodiment of that in the real world, and to Dr. Springfield, who first gave me the story of the cars of life and gave me the encouragement I needed to go on. And, also to myself - I keep trying too.

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The members of the Kane Memorial Hospital are mine, except for Barbara; any other Bat or other DC characters mentioned here are the property of their creators and DC.

Bonni is based partly on my mom, partly on others in the disabled community I've come to know since my mom had her stroke 20 years ago.
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Volkswagens and Porsches

by

Tracey Claybon

I wheeled myself into the weekly group session for ex-patients of the Kane Memorial Hospital who were paralyzed or disabled; I had originally objected to going to the sessions; but after attending the first couple of times, I came to understand and then endorse going; I learned here that I could go on after what the Joker did to me.

I greeted Bonni, a 50-year-old stroke survivor that had been assigned to me after I was paralyzed as a mentor. Bonni was in great spirits today; her face was split with a huge, slightly lopsided grin, and she was waving a piece of paper in her right hand excitedly.

"Barbara! Barbara! I *got* the JOB!"

"That's GREAT!" I said.

"They'll be sending a IT crew over to help me set my computer up with the software I'll need to telecommute! I already had the hand controls, I just needed the software for the Bosc Pear! I had to upgrade to Bartlett OS 8.8, though..."

"You and your Bosc! Give me DLL files and Curtains4ME any day!!" I quipped back.

Bonni and I made our way to the meeting room, arguing good-naturedly about computer operating systems for the next 10 minutes, while the monthly meeting was set up for us. Rina, Joe ,and Kim, other friends of mine in the group, joined in our conversation; when the meeting commenced, I noticed a new person in the group.

He introduced himself as Rick. He only said that he was here because he'd been sent here by the doctors; I learned later that he'd been a high school football star quarterback paralyzed from the chest down when a tackle went horribly wrong during the Gotham High Knights' homecoming game; he'd fractured his spine when he fell wrong.

The anger and pain in his voice as he railed at the injustice of the injuries that brought him here took me back to the days right after I started PT after coming out of my coma. I remembered the days of endless frustration, of remembering what it was like to walk, to run, to lay out a perp with a good hard kick - and then - comparing that with not feeling anything at all below my belly button now.

I remembered wishing that some benevolent God would come and rewind my life back to the moments just before the Joker came through that door and when I was able to do so many more things without anyone else's aid that I, at the time, took for granted.

But, then, I also remembered that in those early days of frustration and misery that Bonni was there to tell me that, yes, things weren't as they once were - and that I had to deal with that and go on.

To not go on was to accept it passively and give a victory to the pain and (in my mind) the Joker, too. And also, no matter what, to become - like a story she told me the first day we met - like a Volkswagen - keep chugging away, fight for every accomplishment and every inch I could gain - and never give up.

She'd told me a story about Volkwagens and Porsches - and she told me that I might have been a Porsche once - but now I must become a Volkwagen and live and fight for every moment.

She lived what she was telling me too - she'd gone back to school after her stroke, acquired a new degree in computer science, although she had needed help learning how to spell, write , speak, talk and walk after her stroke.

She'd had an aneurysm and stroke at a young age - she was only 32 when she had it, and had had a young daughter that began to see Bonni's mother as more of a parent after Bonni's stroke; the relationship between mother and daughter had been strained for a long time, but now that her daughter was grown, they were starting to have more of a relationship together.

I thought about what she'd said to me that first day, went home from there, and out of that "Volkswagen mentality" came the Oracle, who sees all and knows all and sends agents out to do good works, who is the heart and nerve center for the Batman and his battle companions, for the JLA, and for so many others.

It's ironic to me that I accomplished a lot as Batgirl - but that I've accomplished so very much more and done so much more good as the Oracle. I might even manage one day to tell a certain Dick Grayson how I really feel about him - but like coping with being in this chair, I needed - and I still need - time. I will one day.

I think I'll be the mentor for Rick. I think I'll start by telling him a little story about cars.

-FIN-