I truly do see adults with intellectual disabilities as adults. I do. I do. I do. I know that sometimes society, or stereotypes, have disallowed adult experiences and thereby adulthood is more of an achievement than it is simply a stage in normal development. I have fought for the sexual rights of people with intellectual disabilities for most of my professional career. That should surely establish my credentials as a 'believer' in 'adulthood' as a 'possibility' for all people.
But every now and then, like today, I get shaken up a little. We had dropped by the liquour store to pick up a few brew, and the Airmiles points that go with them, and had just filled our cloth bag with 15 cans of beer. We buy 15 cans because that assures us of the points - and it's all about the points. Anyways, I held the bag tightly and sped down the aisle and turned right. Getting through the store is a bit of a maze and I can do it at speeds which do just that, amaze. But I had to stop short as there was a fellow grabbing a six pack of Guinness Draft.
An ordinary sight to be sure.
I have never seen anyone with Down Syndrome in a liquor store buying beer. And not just beer. BEER in all caps. I've never been able to manage more than a sip of Guinness. I think I just may be a wee bit too gay for that stuff. So there he was, six pack in hand, heading up to the counter. The woman who he payed called him by name so I'm guessing he has been there more than once.
Somehow, I'm surprised by my surprise at him being there. Surprised by my surprised by what he was doing. Why should I be? It's a normal, typical, everyday thing to do. The whole idea was for people with disabilities to have the opportunity to do normal, typical, everyday things. So it shouldn't be a surprise. I mean I wasn't surprised that he was alone. I wasn't surprised that he was shopping. I wasn't surprised that he was independent. So it shouldn't be a surprise that he was picking up a six-pack.
But it was.
Here's the thing though ... it won't be next time.