Saturday, May 22, 2010

Odd. How Odd


This is odd.

First let me remind you of two things:

I am very, very fat.

I ride in a fairly distinctive wheelchair.


Got that.

So, I was in the bookstore looking to pick up a book to take on our next lecture tour, when I stopped in my tracks. A woman calling, 'Francis, Francis, over here dear. Oh, my, Francis!' as she rushed along. I have become an expert, as all wheelchair users are, at judging the trajectory of the fleet of foot. I could tell she was going to run right into me. I wanted to be parked when this happened. I looked around for someone who looked like a Francis and saw no one. I did notice others staring at her because bookstores tend to be quiet and her raucous behaviour was clearly deemed unseemly in the eyes of others.

Finally I realize that she is calling to me, 'Francis!' Me? Francis? Not likely, I figure that I am a Dave. Look like a Dave. Feel like a Dave. Drive like a Dave. But she is addressing me as Francis. I don't have people ever, ever, ever, mistake me for someone else. I kind of figure I'm a 'one of a kind' sort of person. She reaches to hug me and I quickly, not being into hugs from strangers, said, 'Mam, you've confused me with someone else.' I glance at her eyes, does she have cataracts, does she have a 'otherworldly look' in her eye, and she seems entirely, utterly normal.

She is brought up by my protestation of non Francis status. 'Really, you look just like Francis,' she said.

I thought:

I do?


There's another one?

I have a doppelganger?

I said: I find that hard to believe.

'Really, you do, I can't believe the similarity.' She begins to apologize and move away. I'm stricken with curiosity and want to ask what he does ... but this is so 'science fiction' that I'm afraid she might say, 'He writes a blog on disability.' And that then, I would disappear.


AkMom said...

Daaaaaaaaaaaave Come Back!!!

or is that Francis?


Kristin said...

What a surreal experience.

ivanova said...

LOL! They say everyone has a double! I hope you never meet Francis.

Jan said...

Just imagine 2 thats more to love

Take care

Kate said...

That's pretty funny! Wow.

Warren said...

how fat are you? were you always fat? Is being so fat your disability,or did you become fat after becoming disabled? If you lost weight would you overcome or lessen your disability? These are questions I'd really like to know the answers to, it would help me because I am growing fat as a result of being less able to get about. Thanks

Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg said...

The few times I've been told that I look exactly like someone and then see a photo of the person, I find that the person doesn't look too much like me. I've always wondered what exactly the observer is focusing on. Hair? Eyes? A sense of my temperament? I'm not sure, but it's definitely only a partial match.

Just to ease your mind, though, I did a quick Google search on the keywords 'Francis disability blog' (without the quotes) and came up empty. So I think you're safe--unless, of course, Francis is writing under a pseudonym, such as Dave.

The Punkster said...

Warren, why would you ask a stranger such personal questions? It's up to Dave of course but I feel he doesn't owe any of us any information he doesn't want to share. I attended a workshop Dave gave years ago on boundaries - just because it's the internet doesn't mean that there shouldn't be some respect for privacy.

Kristine said...

I'm actually more surprised that hasn't happened to you before! I've had many people walk away disappointed that I wasn't Jennifer, Megan, or their "artist friend." (?) People used to mix me up all the time with a former roommate, and the ONLY thing that looked the same about us was that we both used wheelchairs.

Warren said...


I ask because it would help me to have the answers. Dave can answer or not. He helps people does he not? Being disabled doesn't disqualify one from helping others. Honest answers to obvious questions are, in most circumstances, helpful to people. I mean no disrespect. I hope he will answer. Why do you try to make trouble?

Dave Hingsburger said...

Warren, I have to say I had a strong and negative reaction to your questions, or more precisely, the phrasing of your questions. I would be extremely insulted if some stranger came up to me and said, 'How fat are you?' But I do not believe, as others have, that your intent is to be insensitive. Quick answers - I was fat long before I became disabled, if I lost weight I would simply be easier to push. How you figure this information will help you, I don't know.

Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg said...

Hey Warren, I'm glad that Dave let you know his reaction to the way you asked your questions. It's good information for me, too.

Before I read Dave's response, I just wanted to say to you that I didn't personally feel like you did anything wrong. I tend to be a pretty blunt autie and go directly for content. I also tend to be fine when others do the same with me (on my blog or off)--so long as their intent is good and they're not bullying me.

But then again, I write an autism blog and people who post there are autistic and phrase things in very direct ways. This is altogether a function of our neurology and our culture, and non-autistic people tend to respond differently. I don't see one as better than another; they're just different, and I try to be sensitive to the differences (with varying degrees of success). I'm also not making any assumptions about your neurology; I'm mostly just letting you know that your questions seemed okay to me, and that I figured Dave would let you know if he felt otherwise.

Shannon B said...

I thought Warren was sadly unadroit with his phrasing, but realised what seemed like rudeness was in fact eagerness to know an answer.
* * *
Imagine being a fly on the wall during THAT conversation:
"Francis? Dude, I totally saw your twin downtown today, like separated at birth."
"Ha ha."
"No, I'm serious! I almost hugged him!"
"You're lying."

The Untoward Lady said...

She might have been prosopagnosic and you ride the same chair as him.