You picture what you don't know as being similar to what you do know. I make this mistake all the time. When heading over to take the 'L' to the parade, I simply thought of it as being the same as the subway in Toronto only eLevated. I was wrong.
We waited for the train to arrive and when it did, my heart sank. There was a huge, impassible (I know because I tried) lip for me to get over. I bumped my chair against it several times, panicking because I was afraid that the train would move. Finally, I gave up and told the others to hop on, that Joe and I would go back and get the car and meet them there.
They all said, "No."
They were determined to stay with me until we were all sure of what was going to happen next. It was then that I saw a fellow getting a yellow ramp out and putting it onto the train. I hurried down to where he was and by then he'd got it in place for me. I got on easily. He asked where I was getting off and said that there would be someone there to put a ramp out for me to get off. And there was.
So we rode down on the L, together.
All of us.
It meant something to me that, to a one, they all said that they would stay with me and help figure out how we would deal with the unexpected barrier to the trip. We rode downtown expecting to get of at the stop closest to the gathering point to the parade. Suddenly, a stop or two before, the ramp is being put down adn we are being told that the elevator isn't working at our stop so I need to get out here as it's the closest one to where we were going.
Again, I said to the group, "Go ahead, Joe and I will meet you there."
Again, they said, "No, we'll all walk together."
It was starting to sink in - I was a part of the group. Everyone treated the walk from where we landed to where we were going as an adventure in downtown Chicago. Not only were they willing to get off the train early to keep us together, they ensured that I knew it wasn't a bother but an opportunity for even more fun. Inclusion, I discover, feels really, really, good.
Somehow the words 'pride' and 'solidarity' sound really good together don't they?