Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Elevating wisdom

The hotel that I've been staying in is packed! There must have been a tournament or something because there were hundreds of young teen boys, full of energy, accompanied by a few adults looking decidedly like there was a decision somewhere in their past that they regretted: 'Oh, sure, I'll chaperon the boys, how much work can that be?' The boys were rambunctious but never, in my hearing, were they ever rude. They were always careful in the hallway coming to a break in roughneck chasing games ... the the one's played by puppies ... when they came around the corner to find Sadie tottering, me wheeling, Marissa carrying stuff, Ruby doing modern dance with the hallways as a runway, Mike and Joe carrying packages. We weren't a family, we were a caravan. They quietly and respectfully come by us and then, like the light turned green, took off again.

I had to be very careful on getting off the elevator. I always got on last because it's a small elevator and I had to have everyone piled beside me as my chair took up all the space between wall and door. Then backing out these boys, in particular, were still learning the physics of space, two bodies cannot be in the same space at the same time. I'd have to get out before they could get in. It's a tough concept, even some adults have trouble with it. So, I'd back up saying, 'Sorry, Sorry, Sorry' as I got out. Though 'Sorry seems to be the hardest word to say except if you're Canadian' ... I meant it because I needed to get people to move out of the way so I could get out.

On Sunday, backing up on my floor, I noticed people there. They were standing further back but I still said 'sorry, sorry, sorry' .... it's become a habit. A woman began speaking before I could see her, she was a black woman maybe ten years older. She said, 'Don't you apologize, you've got to get out, I've learned not to apologize for just doing what I have to do. People will make you think that your space is theirs to control, don't give it to them.' Then she laughed and said, 'Listen to me talking to you like you were one of my kids.' I jumped in and said, 'Don't apologize, you're right, I need to think about what you've said.'

As the door closed I heard her say, 'Sweetie, I wasn't going to apologize.'


Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

this women is so right.

Sometimes I seem to apologize just being on this planet.

I wish I could be so confident. I sometimes wish that I was not too polite.

With my disabilty I sometimes have no energy left to get in a row about minor things and tend to apologize a lot.

And yes sometimes people therefore control my space.

I might have to take over the control again on my own.

Thank you for sharing this idea/thought.

Have a nice day.
Julia from Germany

Anonymous said...

Do you sometimes feel like you have angels tossed in your path?


Colleen said...

Dear Dave:

Love it - sweetie I wasn't going to apologize!


Anonymous said...

Wisdom all around us

Anonymous said...

I think Wendy's right about angels popping up in your path. Thank you for sharing these moments with us so we all get to benefit.

-- Lexica
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kitten said...

may i please link this post to a disability rant community on livejournal?

because dangit we need to hear that. apologise for hurting feelings. apologise for doing damage (people or property). but dammit, NO apologising for BEING.

(thats for me. i apologise far far too much.)

Noisyworld said...

You shouldn't have to apologise for the courtesy to be able to do what needs to be done.
I think it might be a hangover from the brits, it sounds incredibly familiar to me :/

Kristin said...

Good for her and good for you for listening.

Rachel said...

I once had a friend who would get on me for apologizing too much -- in response to which, I would apologize. Then I'd apologize for apologizing.

You get the idea.

Now please practice, Dave..."Excuse me, please, excuse me, coming through..." :)

Anonymous said...

A crisp, "You need to WAIT until I'm out--then you'll have plenty of room and time to get in." would also suffice. I wouldn't necessarily soften it with a "Please" or "Excuse me", either.

Everyone on an elevator gets to exit before anyone else gets on. I've had to sternly remind plenty of folks of this practice. Funny how the folks getting off always flash me grateful smiles, whilst the clods attempting to shove their way in scowl. Tough noogies, I say! Learn some manners and I won't have to teach them to you.