Friday, February 06, 2009

Heart Shaped Bigotry

It may be one of the oddest conversations I've ever had. I had gone into a card store to buy a Valentine's card, this is difficult because most of the cards are made for situations probably a lot more like yours than mine. Anyways, I was in my power wheelchair and I had pulled up to the rack of cards, a sea of pink. A fellow was standing there looking through cards, picking them up, reading them placing them back. He was taking his time and I immediately thought, 'Lucky woman.'

I picked up one that had a funny comic dog on it. Comic dogs are great to look at but they really aren't the right spirit for a Valentine's card in my humble but honest opinion. Even so, I'm drawn to comic dogs and I read the sentiment that ran about an inch deep and set it back. The other man looked at me and smiled one of those men to men smiles that we give each other on situations like this.

After a second or two more he chuckled and said, "We must be quite the sight, we two." I looked at him quizzically and said, "Pardon me?"

He said, "Everybody will be surprised to see us shopping for these cards. They see you in your wheelchair and think that no one would love you like that. They see me in my turban and think that I'm planning a bombing. And here we are looking for cards because we are men in love."

I said, "I know, everyone simply assumes that I live alone, unloved.'

He said, 'Well, everyone assumes I blow up the people I love.'

"You got me beat," I said and we both laughed again.

He found a card and wished me well. I told him that I hoped the card would be a hit. I wanted to say that I hoped the card didn't bomb but I wasn't sure that he'd have appreciated the humour.

As soon as society determines that you are different - they refuse to believe that you have a heart that works.

Well mine does.

And so does his.


Shan said...

Holy smokes what a conversation! Good for him to be so bold as to begin it - I wouldn't have said what he did, if I were in a similar situation. I'd be afraid of being taken the wrong way and getting my head bitten off.

Cynthia said...

Cool conversation! You must be one of those easy to talk to people, because you have the most amazing conversations.
When we learned our son had Down syndrome, we were told things like "He will never recognize you as his parents, he'll never love you any more than anyone else." and "They are such loving children." Well. We know he loves us more than anyone in the world, and we know he has a big heart, but he has more than one emotion! And then, you know all about the shock people express when you talk about relationships, marriage etc.
I hate the stereotypes. I love my kid.

william Peace said...

This conversation is indeed unique. I have had similarly thoughtful conversations with strangers. Using a wheelchair in some rare instances permits people to ignore social conventions and get to heart of the matter--in this case baseless prejudice.

theknapper said...

Happy Valentine's Day a man with a huge heart & who shows us all how to keep ours OPEN.