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S E C T I O N 2 People M AY 2 3 , 2 0 1 2 R EAL E S TAT E 24 |CLA SSI F I E D S 38 Rolling along through life Paul Bendix reflects on a life of discovery, loss and hope in a new collection of personal essays By Renee Batti Photos by Michelle Le E ach of us must find the right dance to move us through life with as much grace and satisfaction as we can hope to attain. Will we waltz or swing? Pirouette or prance? Will we tango with torrid gaze or cut a rug with a rumba? Paul Bendix of Menlo Park doesn’t have a pat and pithy response when asked in a recent interview to elaborate on the title of his newly published book of personal essays, “Dance Without Steps.” One might assume that, for him, the word “dance” is merely a metaphor for life, given that he’s been paralyzed since 1968 after being shot and left for dead during a street robbery when he was on the cusp of graduation from UC Berkeley. And yes, he says after pondering the question for a few moments, dance is a metaphor, but as far as its precise meaning in his life, “I’m kind of working that one out.” Then: “I’ve been through an awful lot of changes,” he offers, citing the long-ago shooting, the partial recovery of some movement that allowed him to live independently in London for a few years, the decline in neurological function in his 40s and the subsequent developments that have made mobility increasingly difficult. And of course, there’s the pain of loss that has marked his life. “It all adds up to a kind of dance,” he concludes, and to amplify he recalls old cowboy movies where the gunslinger shoots at the ground near his nemesis’ feet, barking, “Dance!” With the difficulties of life as a partial quadriplegic mostly confined to a wheelchair, Mr. Bendix says, “I often “It all adds up to a kind of dance.” Paul Bendix is a familiar sight in downtown Menlo Park, where he navigates the streets in his motorized wheelchair. Coffee and a newspaper are usually on the agenda when Paul heads downtown, blocks away from his home. See ROLLING ALONG, page 23 May 23, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN21

The Almanac 05.23.2012 - Section 2

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