I was zipping up Yonge Street all by myself. I felt very much like a grown up! With Joe down for the count with the flu, I was charged with doing the banking and getting a few groceries. Our neighbour Tessa offered to do some shopping for us and while that's wonderful, I just had to get out of the house. I'm seldom really on my own and, though I missed Joes presence, I kind of liked the 'man about town' feel of zipping along alone.
I pulled up to a curb to wait for the light to cross. I waited behind a tall thin woman wearing painted on pants and a pretty blouse. She was on the phone and talking animatedly to a friend. When the light changed, she didn't move, I couldn't get around her because there were people waiting to cross the street in the other direction. If she didn't move, neither would I.
Hmmmm, I'm wondering if other disabled people have developed that, 'I'm oh so sorry to be a bother' tone of voice that is used when asking people to move or step aside. Mine is well used and well polished. I asked her if I could slip by. She glanced down at me, meaning she heard me, she saw that I couldn't get by her, then she glanced away as if I wasn't there and continued her conversation. I was stunned. What is the big deal, move your skinny little ass out of the way!
I raised my voice and said, 'Excuse me, could I get by please.' This time she didn't even look she just carried on with her conversation. Suddenly I felt like I'm embroiled in a battle that I didn't want over an issue I didn't choose. I just wanted to go north across the street while the light was green.
Now, I yelled loudly, 'Please move!!' Suddenly a boyfriend appears out of nowhere, I think he may have been in the store or coming out of the store during all of this. He's yelling at me, 'Don't you fucking yell at her, do you understand you fucking cripple, don't you fucking yell at her.' I'm terrified because he looks real mad and those fists he's forming look like they are about to leave impressions on my face.
'I just want to get by man, that's all I want,' I say breathlessly. I'm scared. I don't like dealing with angry people, I don't like their unpredicatability. 'Just don't you fucking ever yell at her again,' he says calming down slightly. I took a chance and said, 'I wasn't yelling at her, I was yelling to get her attention, I just want to go across the street.' 'Well, beat it then.'
By now the light is red but there were no cars coming so I roared across the street with my heart beating in my chest. I caught her eye as I went by, she was smirking.
I guess she won something, but I don't know what it was.