It still creeps me out. I was touched, physically manhandled, and I didn't notice. Part of me wishes I didn't know, that Joe hadn't told me, that there wasn't even another way to feel vulnerable. But part of me is glad to have been put on alert - now I can be more watchful, more wary, more careful.
We had gone to one of those independant cinemas that show foreign films alongside other 'arthouse' kind of fare. I really wanted to take Joe to see "The Counterfeiters" because I knew that he would really enjoy it - it's his kind of film. This is no sacrafice because I knew I'd like it too. Parking was inconvenient, the disabled seating was more like sitting in a prisoners box in a British courtroom, and many of the patrons were snooty to the point of parody ... but that's the price you pay for wanting to see something out of the mainstream.
The movie was amazing. It managed to tell a story well, characteres were developed, themes explored, there was much to think about and even more to talk about. Going out of the theatre Joe was walking beside me, talking with me, as I was pushing myself towards the door. I didn't need his help because there was a slight slope and gravity was helping me move fairly quickly even though I was on carpet.
We got to the door, Joe held it open and I gave a mighty push to get over the small bump there and then I sailed on down to the side of the road. I put my brakes on and Joe went to get the car. That's what I thought happened. That's not what happened.
On the way back to the hotel in the car, Joe asked why I hadn't said anything to the man who grabbed the handles on the back of my wheelchair and pushed as I went through the door at the cinema. I immediately felt sick. Even maybe a little dirty. I had been touched, grabbed, pushed, and I didn't notice. I told Joe that I didn't notice him, anyone, touch the chair. I had been engrossed in our conversation, busy with pushing myself through the door, intent on getting down to the side of the road without Joe having to help. My mind was busy with other things, I didn't feel two hands touch me.
My wheelchair is a mobility aide. That's what it is when it's sitting empty at night. But when I'm in it, my wheelchair is me. Touch it, touch me. I have a 'thing' about touch. I think it's wonderful when it's wanted, I think it's abusive when it's not. I don't think there is much in between. As someone who's boundaries have not always been respected, I really care about them being respected now.
The intent of that man, the one who grabbed me, in his mind was probably 'Let me help' ... the result of his actions was 'Oh my God, I'm seen as helpless, vulnerable ...'
I still feel sick inside.