Saturday, August 18, 2007


You know how Volkswagon Beetle drivers wave at each other when they pass each other on the road? And bikers do that 'way cool' hand pointing down move when they catch site of one another on the highway? I'm still relatively new to the disability thing so I get that same kind of thrill of recognition when I see another wheelie in a mall, at the movies or just generally out and about. I think we should have some kind of movement of recognition too, it'd be fun.

When we went to see 'Becoming Jane' at the theatre in Framingham, there was a woman with a disability in a wheelchair taking tickets as we went in. She was the guardian of a world of fantasy and popcorn, now there is a cool job. There was a small line up as she took just a wee bit longer than a typical ticket taker. Every movement was studied and thorough. She took the tickets from Joe, ripped them carefully, handed half back and deposited the other half in the ticket holder thingy and told us in a voice slightly infused with cerebral palsy that we were in cinema 8 to our left.

As I drove around her I said, "It's nice to see someone on my team working here."

I could tell she wanted to say something to me, but she wasn't quick to speak and instead she said, "Cinema 9, to your right" to the person behind us.

The movie was bright and fun, the time flew by and Joe and I were buzzing about the film on the way out. We stopped for a pee, being over 50 and facing a twenty minute drive back to the hotel.

On our way out, I noticed that the ticket taker wasn't at her post and in fact no where to be seen. That is untl we were leaving the theatre and we spotted her off to the side of the front entrance having a smoke. Our car was parked off that way so we passed in front of her. She waved us over. She put her cigarette out and looked up at us and smiled.

"I've been benched," she said and it struck her really funny and she rollicked in her chair as she laughed.

We laughed too and continued on our way.

We've got to work at that wave thing.


Anonymous said...

Hi, Dave!

Don't you think that by engineering a "disability greeting" you could actually establish some kind of a stereotype even if it is recognized as a positive one by someone?

For example, you wouldn't consider to establish a disability party, would you? And that's very simple for you too, I suppose: that's because every person can have diverse political views regardless of their condition. Now, don't you think that greeting someone as being disabled, wouldn't that create kind of an intrusive pattern of behavior that overruns individual personality?

Or maybe I'm wrong here. I'm just interested how do you comment.


Dave Hingsburger said...

Siim, I wrote that post kind of tongue in cheek. Even so, I think that the disability community has a right to define themselves (ourselves) in any way that we want. I often drive along and see cars with the rainbow symbol for gay pride, the fish symbol for Christianity, it seems to me to be the same thing, a public declaration of community. So a sign or symbol of disability community wouldn't be a new idea. But, even so, I was writing that post with the same kind of humour that she showed.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Dave.

That clarifies the matter for me. Of course, I have to agree with you. I was just curious...

Sally said...

Its a choice, whether or not to make contact, acknowledgement, with another wheelie while out and about.

Some, like any other stranger, it doesn't feel right; others its mutual and obviously right - so that's the time for the wide grin, the stop and greet, or a secret smile or just a wink.

When its a silent greeting just in passing, its a mutual re-affirmation.