It was good to get out of the car and move around. We've made stopping at Wegmans on our way home a bit of a tradition. It's nice to get out of the car, have lunch at their Market Cafe, and do a bit of shopping. It's only two hours, depending on border traffic of course, to home. We found ourselves a spot and chowed down, then it was off to shop.
We have a very particular shopping list. A few vegetarian items that aren't available in Canada top our most wanted list. I have a bag on the back of my chair to pick up things, Joe has the buggy. We split up and go on the hunt. For me, it's a nice time to get my body moving. It usually takes a few minutes to get into the right rhythm but, once there, I'm there. It's a large store and I see much of it.
This time we weren't very successful with what we were looking for but bought stuff we hadn't known we wanted or needed on the way in. From the cherry blossoms and 30 degree weather we'd come to cold, and wet, and rain. I pushed myself to the entrance and we decided to wait until Joe had loaded the car with groceries and then he cold give me a hand getting out to where we were parked.
When the door swung open, cold, damp, air came in and I felt a bit chilled. I hadn't worn a jacket because it was to be straight in, straight out. An older woman, noticing me sit there waiting, came over to me, purpose all over her face. I braced myself. It is said that the wheelchair is a magnet for social inappropriateness, and this has been my experience more than once.
She said, "They shouldn't have let you out without a coat." I bristled, the decision to not wear the sweater that Joe had offered me had been mine, AND, perhaps more importantly, no one had 'let me out.' Then she continued, "you speak up and tell people what you need. Trust me it took me a long time to find the courage to make my needs known. Don't you take as long as me. If you need a coat, ask for a coat." Then she looked at me seriously and grimly nodded her head. Work was done.
I went from being annoyed at her assumption to being kind of impressed with what she did. I'm guessing from what she said that her coming and speaking to me is a relatively new skill. I did see her work up to speaking to me and I did see the determination on her face. I'm guessing there was a journey there. While she mistook the situation and my need of her encouragement, in the end, I'm glad she did it and I hope she keeps doing it.
Someone exhorting another someone to speak up, giving testimony that it can be a hard learned skill, is an act of caring. In her case a kind of gruff caring done with grim purpose, but caring.
On further reflection, though her advice did not fit that exact situations I was in, it fits in many other areas of my life. So, good on her.