I think to a certain extent, I've lost it.
With our society.
With the 'kindness' of strangers.
We were going over for a bite of lunch at a local food court. Tessa and I rushed across the interesction quickly, leaving Joe in our dust on the opposite corner. There was a crowd gathered watching this amazing guy. He was wearing a yellow tee shirt with the name of some chiropractor on it. But what was really noticeable was the fact that his ankles were hooked together behind his neck and he had lifted himself up and was walking around on his hands. You might even sprain something trying to imagine it.
It was fun watching him contort into various shapes and even more fun watching people with looks of both horror and amazement on their faces. I waved Joe to come quickly so he could see what was going on. He joined us and we all laughed as we watched the odd antics of someone who could do what people just can't do. Suddenly Tessa and I were approached, she in her scooter, me on my chair, by a woman asking if we would mind being filmed watching the contortionist. We were taken by surprise and just quickly said that it would be ok.
After a few minutes more of watching the show was slowly ending. As we began to move towards the mall, we were approached to sign consents for us to appear in an Internet advertisement for the chiropractor. Suddenly my stomach sank. I said, 'I'd really rather not.' Tessa also shook her head.
There was no way I wanted to give blanket permission for my image to be used. The way that fat people can be the brunt of 'humor' ... they way disabled people can be misrepresented as 'pathetic' ... no way. A well of distrust overwhelmed me and I had a faint creepy feeling that I'd dodged some kind of bullet. Our society is not to be trusted to respect difference and disability. Our society is not much evolved past freak show mentality. Our society pays gene hunters a lot of money to weed out difference while paying lip service to diversity. I do not trust.
Driving quietly along in my chair I realized, for the first time, that something had changed in me. I used to believe in the kindness of strangers. But after years of being 'the stranger' ... I no longer want kindness ... I'd settle just for being left alone.