An interesting comment was left yesterday, although I have to say all of my comments are interesting, that asks a good question, "just what the hell do we want?"
Here's part of that comment: Times we lament "Why don't people see me?", as at the art museum when
they stand in front of the chair - and other times we don't want to be
noticed or pointed out. It's hard to find a balance. Sometimes you
don't want folks to notice the difference - as you are an adult like
other adults, other times you want consideration for your needs.
It's true, of course, I have written about the invisibility that comes with disability - the fact that people step in front of me at museums and my magic disappearing act in line ups. In fact at the parade, I experienced two very different phenomena ... being singled out like I wrote about yesterday AND having people step right in front of where I was sitting on the curb. It was odd being highly visible and completely invisible at the same time.
So what is it I want? (I do not presume to speak for anyone else.)
In the case of my being at the museum, or being stepped in front of, all I want is ordinary courtesy. The same courtesy that is shown to others. Those people who stepped in front of me did it without any concern for the fact that they were blocking my view. They most decidedly did NOT step in front of other people standing. Once, and I kid you not, a couple apologised to Joe for stepping in front of him, and then stood right in front of me as if the spot was vacant. I just want the same courtesy shown to me as they show to other people.
In the case of being singled out for attention, all I want is the same degree of attention that is given to other adults. The generic wave to a group of people watching - not a specific 'how do you do little man' wave directed at me because of the fact that I'm in a wheelchair. If you aren't pointing out other adults then don't point out me. It's fairly simple.
So I guess, in fact, I want ordinary courtesy and ordinary acknowledgement. I don't really want anything more or less than that. Sometimes ordinary looks extraordinary - I want accessible bathrooms - because I want to pee - and that takes adaptation. I want accessible parking - because I want to be able to get to where others go - and that takes adaption. But that's all with adapting environments.
I don't really want adapted social interactions. I want those to be typical and ordinary. I want the same courtesy as others, I want the same degree of anonymity as others expect.
I know this all looks like 'WHAT I WANT.'
So let me say that I also think that I need to be equally courteous. I need to expect the same treatment and deny the 'pity-privelege' ... 'oh please go ahead of me' or 'I'll take you next even though others have been waiting' ... it took a while to work up the courage to say 'no thanks, I'll wait my turn' ... only because I didn't want to be thought rude. So I want from others and I want for others.
One of the things I like about having a blog is this kind of dialogue that gets me thinking and allows me to be challenged by the respectful comments of readers. I have astonishingly nice commentary here on Rolling Around in My Head - even when people disagree or ask questions, it's all done with ...
courtesy and consideration for the feelings of others.
And that, folks, is all I want.