I was sitting in my power chair and my manual was beside me, maybe a foot away. It had coolers, and other necessary stuff, hanging off the back. Other adults, also waiting, were sitting in other spots around me. It was kind of a natural place to wait or rest.
Suddenly I notice that a woman, in her thirties, had plopped herself down in my manual chair. I was horrified, "That's my wheelchair," I said. She looked at me with hostility, "Well, you're not using it are you?" I was aghast. I sputtered, "No, but it's still my wheelchair ..." before I could finish a fellow calls out to her, "Get your ass out of his wheelchair." She got up and left, huffing and puffing like there was a house made of sticks to blow down.
I still don't understand why she would sit in my wheelchair. I don't understand why she would presume to have the right to do so and to be hostile in response to information. My head had done a quick calculation which was ... no one would ever do this, maybe she thinks it's a random chair left around the park like you see at airports ... so I gave her information ... "That's my wheelchair." Her response told me that she either knew or didn't care. What she also didn't care about was my protest.
She got up and out of the chair because she was told to by someone else. Some non-disabled guy hollering at her to get out of my chair. My protest didn't matter. His did. In fact her response to his demand was almost immediate.
In the end I was upset that she plopped herself down in my wheelchair. I don't know how other's feel about their wheelchairs but mine is mine. I have no problem with my very close friends or my very close family sitting in my chair, but no one else and certainly not without permission. Heck, even Ruby and Sadie ask if they can sit in my chair - and they are kids!
But I was also annoyed, a bit, with the fellow who took over the interaction and spoke for me. True she valued his voice more than mine, but still I can fight my own battles and I don't need rescuing. I am pretty confident that, once I'd realized that I was dealing with someone who had done something purposeful, not accidental, I was ready to ramp up the interaction. I would have, I think, been able to make my voice heard.
Then the kids were back laughing full of stories of what they'd done. I used their laughter as a remedy to stop to ruminations in my head. It was time to get back to fun.