"No, thanks, I'm good," I said voice dripping with sarcasm.
"You're on your own then," his voice said, annoyed.
"No, no, I'm not," I said to the closing door.
An unpleasant little interchange, I admit. One that could have been avoided, I could have behaved differently, but, my good heaven's, I just couldn't.
Joe and I have been to that theatre before and have the routine down for getting out at the end of the movie. I roll down on ahead of him, at the bottom, I pause he slips around me grabs the door and we're out. The pause is barely noticeable. Joe, could of course, go before me but for some reason, that's not how we do it. Anyway, I was rolling down towards the door, a fellow about my age went out in front of me and just as he was going to let the door swing shut, he noticed me. He said, "I'll hold the door for you, but you are going to have to ask!" I shook my head, afraid of what I might say if I spoke, "Come on, just say please," he said. I washed my voice of anger, got out everything but the sarcasm, and then said, "No, thanks, I'm good." He was gone, Joe came round, I was out.
We went along in silence for a few seconds, oddly because we'd both loved what we'd seen, then Joe said, "I think that he thought he was being 'cute' and 'friendly'." I asked Joe if he thought I should have just asked him, "Nope, I wouldn't have either."
Then we chatted about "The Audience" and marvelled that we were able to see it in a theatre here in Canada. We've gotten used to seeing the Met Opera on the screen, but seeing this seemed very different than that, for reasons we couldn't quite determine.
As we strolled up the street I told Joe that I wanted to invent an 'asskicker' button for my wheelchair. I'd never use it, of course, but I'd like to have it nonetheless. Joe said, quickly, 'I'd use it.'
I realize, of course, that if Joe hadn't been with me, it would have been harder to have refused his 'offer'. Even so, I think I would have. There was room enough for me to pause, let others around until an offer was made that didn't involve begging.
I have a disability, true.
I need help from time to time, true.
But neither of those things gives anyone the right to force me to humble myself in order to get assistance. Maybe I'm too proud. But, in my mind, thank god for pride, disability or otherwise, because that's what motivates me to stand up, even while I'm sitting down, to someone.