I know he saw me.
He was two ahead of me in line at the grocery store. I saw him glance over to me as I pulled in line behind him. He was a tall, good looking, broad shouldered guy going slightly grey around the temples. When his turn came he unloaded his grocery cart onto the counter, organizing things in anticipation of having them packed into bags. Meticulous and organized in a way that I will never be! The checkout guy, the typical cashier for the accessible aisle, said hello to my fellow shopper and then noticed me in line and waved a greeting. Again, I was glanced at.
It's important that you understand here: I know he saw me.
When all the things were out of his cart, he backed it up and pushed it at an angle to the counter, leaving the way blocked except for a narrow passageway around it. There is no way he couldn't know that I'd be unable to pass. The couple in front of me, young and in love, step easily around it and waited their turn to put groceries, which they had carried in bags, onto the counter. They noticed none but each other and had the air of them that they were in the stage of relationship where standing accounted for less than a third of their time together.
By now there was a line up behind me. I advanced toward the cart, blocking my way, and the line came right with me. There was no room to back up, or maneuver myself in any way. I reached for the cart and pulled it back an inch or two and then was stuck, I didn't know what to do with it. I couldn't back up enough to give me room to pull it out of the way and I couldn't go forward. I was frozen for a moment. I couldn't see behind me to ask someone to help me, I couldn't be seen by the couple with eyes glued on eyes. But most of all, I didn't want to have to do anything.
He saw me.
He saw my wheelchair.
He couldn't miss the wheelchair symbol hanging over the checkout.
At that moment the woman in front of me noticed the cart. She was unpacking her bag, thus distracted for a moment from being in love, she said, "Oh, my, that cart is in your way." Her Sir Galahad leapt into action and took the cart and, seeing that there was no way on earth to get it back past me and the line behind me, took it and pushed it through, and behind the man who had left it there. Mr. Block Your Way, simply stepped ahead and let the cart pass behind him, while he paid for his groceries.
I thanked the young man and young woman who'd helped me. The smiled and said it was no problem.
But it was a problem.
If not for them, for me.
My problem is this: I can't figure out what happened.
Was the man who left the cart simply ignorant?
Was the man who left the cart simply hostile?
Was the man who left the cart simply self absorbed?
Was the man who left the cart simply oblivious?
It bothers me not knowing. It bothers me that I care to know. So, I'm asking you ... help me know what happened here.