Saturday, December 22, 2007

Whoville

I had clearly been waiting.

We were parked at the Eaton Center in Toronto and were waiting for the elevators that would take us to the shopping arcade below. Several elevators had gone by, chocka block full, room enough for other two footers but not enough for me in my chair. Finally an empty elevator arrived and, of course, it was the longest distance away. I turned the chair and started to push but I was engulfed by people rushing past me to the elevator.

Everyone of those people had come after me, they all knew I was there first, one woman slammed into my chair getting by, another's purse hit me square in the face as she raced past. We got to a full elevator. They all had the crazed face of victory on them. As the doors began to close I simply raised my arms and said, "Tiny Tim hates all of you."

Their faces fell and eyes glanced away from mine as I drilled my gaze into theirs.

I mean it's Christmas for heavens sake.

Christmas.

You know ... good will ... love of fellow men ... birth of the babe ...

Finally we get down to the shopping mall and it's teaming with people, scampering around with packages and parcels, ribbon and wrapping, bottles and boxes. If you squinted everyone would look like the Who's down in Whoville, if you closed your eyes you could imagine the Grinch complaining about the noise, noise, noise.

But in fact I loved it. I managed to finish my Christmas shopping and Joe managed to start his. We live together but in separate worlds sometimes.

On my way out of the mall we were going through the children's section of the bookstore towards the exit that would lead to the parking garage. I saw one of the woman who had rushed by me. She was clearly upset upon seeing me. I was then surrounded with Joe and Mike and Merrissa and baby Ruby riding on my chest.

She mouthed the words, "I'm sorry."

For a second I considered giving her the finger. Letting her know that an apology doesn't make up for a purse in the head and a push aside.

But it's Christmas.

So I smiled and mouthed the words, "Merry Christmas."

It was harder to do than you'd imagine.

I'm sorry to say.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think you scored much bigger points by saying Merry Christmas. She'll never do that again. It is easier to dismiss the finger but I think Merry Christmas makes someone real to those that sometimes forget to see. Well I too am about to venture to the store, not the mall but the grocery store which opens at 7 am. Wonder how many Merry Christmas' I'll encounter?

Linda said...

It was harder to do than you'd imagine.

But you did it! Thats what I like about you Dave....you can be BIG if you have too!
Hang in there.....only three more shopping days to Christmas! Thank God!

Ashley's Mom said...

What you describe is one of my biggest issues during the holidays. I try so hard to take my daughter shopping, yet can't even get her wheelchair in some stores. I can't understand where everyone's Christmas spirit goes the moment they enter the mall. It really sets a poor example for my daughter..

Here is an account of our latest shopping experience:

Trying to Shop

Andrea said...

Some years ago, I was on crutches after a foot injury. My cast had come off and I was putting a light amount of weight on the bad foot, but I was still very unsteady on my feet so I didn't feel ready to use the escalator. I wasn't sure I could pick up my feet quickly enough to get on and off safely.

At some point I went grocery shopping, put a few things in my backpack, and came back to metro (subway) to wait for the elevator. There were dozens (felt like hundreds) of teenagers who for some reason were also waiting for the elevator even though they could have simply taken the escaltor that was only a few feet away. My feet were tired (still not quite up to a lot of walking even with crutches) and I just wanted to get down to the subway as quickly as possible so I could find a bench or a train. The elevator came and some of the teens crammed onto it so quickly I didn't even have a chance to get to the door. And the doors closed so fast I didn't even have a chance to give any of them a blistering lecture.

I felt sorely tempted to give that blistering lecture to the other teens left behind (who were simply laughing with each other and totally oblivious to either my physical discomfort or my anger) but I didn't know if they had any connection to each other so I refrained from that. But I did try to politely point out that the escalator was just a few feet away, in very very plain sight. The kid I spoke to cheerfully said, "Oh I'm fine!" I privately thought to myself, er, that's not the point, and tried to politely explain that I would need the elevator when it came. I was sort of hoping (obviously in vain) that they'd take a hint and just go take the escalator and get out of my way. But they just sort of cheerily blew me off. I did manage to get on the elevator next time, but NOT because of any consideration shown to me by anyone. No one made any effort to make sure there was room, I just got lucky.

This was some years ago, but it still makes me angry. And still makes me wish I could lock all those kids AND their parents into a room and force them to listen to a blistering lecture from me until they see fit to give me a SINCERE apology.

You're lucky that you got an apology. That woman, at least, realized, even if only belatedly, that what she did was wrong. Those teens that I encountered waltzed off without a clue.

I admire your control.

Andrea
wecando.wordpress.com

Maranatha said...

I am so very proud of you for sticking up for yourself like that! I would have been so very angry but I wouldn't have said anything and just stewed about it all day/week!
I have much to learn from you!
Merry Christmas!
MARA

lina said...

I'm not surprised you did the right thing. You would have been just one of 'them' had you given her the finger. Can't say I would have been as strong as you - not to get really upset and loud as people were rushing past into the elevator. As a matter of fact, as I read your blog, I could feel the anger as the empty elevator filled up in front of you!
Good for you for being the better person!
and a very Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Kei said...

You are a better person than I. While I doubt I would have given a finger, I'm sure I would have had some cynical remark or other that would have made her feel even sorrier. Or used the phrase my hubby uses when someone is totally rude and thinks "I'm sorry" will suffice... he says, "you certainly are"

Anonymous said...

Sometimes this time of year brings out the worst in people and I have no idea why. But then again some people are like that the entire year! At any rate good for you for being the better person. I applaude your self control. And a very Merry Christmas to you.

L said...

lol you remind me of one of the occasions when I made the mistake of going christmas shopping when I was in a lot of pain and using a walking stick. No one would let me have a seat on the train so as I couldn't stand I sat on the floor. They didn't even look at me.

But you were amazing - you swallowed your feelings and wished her Merry Christmas, well done Dave!

Jeff said...

Dave

Well done on the Merry Christmas...sometimes I think being nice makes it hurt worse for the goof balls.

On another note I thought the line about you finishing and Joe starting was halarious....I can relate...

Peace

Lianna said...

I think by saying Merry Christmas, your holiday will be more merrier than her's. I only say that not out of spite for her actions, but because her behaviour towards you did bother her enough to reach out, as akwardly as it must have been for her. I imagine she'll be thinking about things for a long while. And maybe this will be the best gift given to her this year.

rechal said...

"Tiny Tim hates all of you" -- I love it.