It's a part of Toronto that we rarely go. Neither of us likes it much and neither of us feels as if we fit in. It's where the rich gather to shop and eat and stroll along the sidewalk. We went there on my inspiration. There's a new store there that we both like and I'd see an ad on the internet for something I wanted to pick up that was exclusive to that chain. So we went for a Saturday adventure.
I've only been there once since I've been in a wheelchair and we ended up having to dump me on the sidewalk before Joe parked because the parkade does not have an elevator and it would have been very difficult to manage the huge ramps. That's OK, I love people watching, so as Joe parked I pushed myself off to the side and then simply waited.
We shopped, we wandered a bit and then it was time to go home. I told Joe to head on down to get the car and I'd push myself on several meters to where it looked safe for him to pull over and get me loaded back into the car. It felt like a leisurely day so I just slowly pushed myself along. I wouldn't say that the glances at me were hostile but they weren't very nice. I felt like a charity case that had crashed a charity ball. You know the idea of us is one thing but the reality of us is another.
I guess I felt in the way. Intruding. At one point it got a little crowded and I had to slow down. I heard a kind of harrumph behind me and, it upsets me even as I write this, a guy much younger, much thinner and much richer than I, took hold of the grips on my wheelchair and started to push me. Without a by your leave or anything, he just started to push me. At first I panicked, I didn't know what was happening. Then when I realized, I grabbed hold of my wheels to break my movement.
I turned to him, angrily, I wish now I'd said, "Unhand me you cad!" but I didn't I said, less poetically, "Hey, let go of me!!!" He just kept trying to push me hard. I held hard on to my wheels. "You're in everyone's way, I'm just helping you."
"LET GO OF ME!!!"
He knew I was serious and now people were staring. He at least had the good grace to blush. "Don't you touch me again,"I said defiantly.
"I did not (he didn't contract his words) touch you," he was defensive and angry.
"Touching my chair is touching me."
"That is (really he didn't contract his words) just silly. I would think you would be grateful for the assistance."
"Well, I'm not! Don't ever do that to someone in a chair. It's assault."
By the time Joe got there with the car I was where I'd planned, but I was still quite angered by the intrusion into my space.
It was only later that the idea of being 'in the way' was also offensive but I'd had enough of offense by then and had to get on with my day.
Consider me Chairman Dave, don't touch without permission. Don't help without asking. Do that and we'll get along fine.