I had to buy a card for my Dad's birthday. And besides I love these stores. In the UK, I find, there is a deliciously dirty sense of humour. You can pick up cards that would be considered outrageous in North America ... and as I have that sense of humour, hours can pass as I howl doubled over in my wheelchair. I had just finished with a very funny fart card and had tucked a nun with syphillis card (who doesn't need one of those) in my bag and was pushing my way down the aisle.
I waited as a young woman, who's face was obscured to my by the cut of her hair and the tilt of her head, was looking at the boxes of Christmas cards. She was with another woman who I immediately identified as a care provider. So, I waited. The care provider suddenly noticed me, grabbed hold of the arm of the woman she was with and yanked ... yanked ... her out of my way. The woman, startled looked up and I saw she had Down Syndrome. She looked over at me and saw that she had been standing in my path. Not a word had been said between the two women. All there had been was the ... yank.
'Sorry,' she said to me and began to walk away.
'Wait,' I said, and she stopped.
'It's not ok for people to grab and yank you that way,' I said. The other woman burst into words and I put my finger up. Just one finger, to indicate that I was not talking to her.
'But I was in your way,' she said.
'Well, I can wait for a moment or I can ask you to step aside, it's between me and you.'
I could see the other woman desperate to talk. I didn't engage her, wasn't interested in a conversation with her.
'Why don't you go back to looking at cards, I don't mind waiting,' I said.
She went back to the cards and picked up a box. She held it up to me and asked what I thought. It wasn't my kind of card, it had a rustic kind of drawing of the manger and a sappy sentiment. But I asked her what she thought.
She looked at the card carefully, scanning the picture much more thoroughly than I did. 'I don't think I like it,' she said.
I was intrigued so I asked her why.
'The baby Jesus is always sleeping in these pictures, he's never crying.'
'You think he'd be crying.'
'Of course,' she said, 'he knew what was coming.'