Thursday, July 04, 2013

WTF?

"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.


19 comments:

Utter Randomness said...

Holding the door for people behind you is an act of common courtesy that is sadly becoming less common. You should never have to ask someone or beg someone to be polite.

When I was using crutches a couple years ago, I actually had people pull the door shut behind them instead of holding it for me. I don't understand why it's such a big deal for people to hold the door, especially when they have it open already. It only takes a couple of seconds.

Glee said...

I would have told him to F... OFF! What a creep!

Anonymous said...

Making a "game" out of helping is never kind . . . what is this, "mother may I???" Any genuine offer to help must be done with dignity!!!

You were right!

Just Heidi said...

Beg for courtesy!! Forget it! What a jerk off!

Susan said...

Jerk.

Anonymous said...

That’s nasty what he did. I wonder if he knows how nasty. I hope he finds out but I definately don’t want to suggest that you or Joe should have any role in helping him to see that.
unless, by some serendipitous route, he happens to read your blog..
just dreaming...

Lianna said...

I agree with GLEE. If there ever was an invitation for the f-word that was it. How demeaning!

Belly (Liz McLennan) said...

Eff him. Seriously. I think you handled the situation wonderfully - not sure I wouldn't have snarled and hissed, so go, you!

Why are some people such asshats?

Anonymous said...

I agree with GLEE, too. He was treating you like a child and just being a total creep!

Debbie (NJ)

Colleen said...

Dear Dave:

I agree with Glee - Eff him! What a jerk! However, I have to say that as much as I would want to say that I probably wouldn't actually say it - too polite I think? I also would have wanted to say "please" and then run over his toes on the way by or something like that - but again I doubt I would actually do it. You handled it perfectly.

Colleen

theknapper said...

omg what a jerk.....wanted to say something worse....

Anonymous said...

The entire system of care for people with disabilities is based on pity-charity and denial of "adult" status. It is deeply imbedded in public behaviour. The door-holder felt he could treat you like a child and "teach" you to politely and thankfully accept his meager help.

While insulting, I think it is less damaging than the same treatment of people every day by "care-givers" in bureaucracies who make people grovel and beg for entitlements, like approved home care support that fails to show up without notice because the client's dignity just isn't worth it.

Keep fighting the good fight.

Rachel said...

I would have said, "How sad that you feel the need to be asked to act like a human being! I feel sorry for you."

I would never have taken the offer of help under those conditions. Under some circumstances, you have to. Some people are in circumstances in which their survival depends on it, but this wasn't one of them. I think you did the right thing.

Jo Kelly said...

I think, unfortunately, that he thought he was being funny - like Joe said.
Recently, I was getting in my van at Superstore. An odd looking man came along and without asking if I needed assistance, just grabbed my chair - which I already had up in the van. I asked him to please stop - he persisted. I asked him to please stop touching my person again and this time I put a little anger into it - he said OH SHUT UP! Waved his arm at me and walked away. What a yerk. People just don't get it. I hate that assumption that I'm supposed to fall down in gratefulness when I never asked for their help in the first place.

Kim said...

such a weird experience to have to negotiate. It would seem that this individual needed to demonstrate he had power he could wield. One wonders how else this style of 'authority' shows up in the world. A desire to dominate in one sphere will emerge in others.

Anonymous said...

Honestly - what a jerk. Perhaps you could have said an exaggerated "Ohhh Pleaaassesee", rolled out and added "and please shove the door up your a**". The responses are endless, just like his insensitivity and rudeness.

CL said...

Wow. What a jerk. It reminded me of how men sometimes tease me like I'm a little girl, even though I'm an adult. It always feels like their way of asserting and enjoying their power over me as a woman. They might think they're being funny -- they might even think they're interacting with me in a positive way -- but whether they know it or not, treating an adult like a chid is belittling and offensive. Would he have done it to someone like him, an able-bodied person with his arms full, for example? I strongly doubt it.

Anonymous said...

OK Dave, try a trick a friend of mine does. Look the guy right in the eye and say in your perfect Canadian "No english". Then smile. What can he say back to that?

Jayne Wales said...

He was a complete tosser and you were right to dismiss his offer. Just imagine having to be linked to him in anyway! Aaagh.