I believe there at essentially two paths through life. Let me explain:
Joe and I went to a movie in a theatre that has a horrid seating section for wheelchair users. So, I don't use it. I park in the aisle, which is quite wide, beside where Joe sits. We've done that there for over five years. This time, as I was sitting there a woman came in through the entrance way used by disable people. She was a very small woman with a very BIG walker. She made her way up towards me, smiling a greeting. It became quickly evident that there wasn't quite enough room for her to get by. I said, "Hold on, I'll move this way, you go that way, and it should work." Well, it took a bit of moving about but it got sorted quite quickly. She said to me that it was a relief to negotiate space with another person with a disability - "It's nice to just be understood," she said.
She was charming and gracious and graceful.
Today, Joe and I stopped for lunch on the road to Ottawa. We sat in an empty section because it would have been difficult to negotiate through a crowded restaurant. We appreciated the courtesy. Just after we ordered I noticed, through the window, a woman coming in, once again using a very large walker. She entered the restaurant and requested the same area as where we were. She was clearly a regular. The fellow brought her over our way and suddenly they were standing near me. I asked, because I couldn't see, if there was room for them to pass. She said, "No, you take up too much space." She turned to go towards the restaurant. I was trying to move into the space between tables in order to make room, but she was marching, angrily, towards a table in the other section.
She was not charming nor gracious and certainly not graceful.
Two people, one situation, two very different responses. I have come to believe that, often, it's not the situation but the attitude you bring to it. The first woman was willing, and even pleased, to work through to a compromise and find a solution. The second woman went to anger as a default position. She didn't even WANT a solution, she seemed to WANT to be angry.
I'd like to say that I'm more like the first woman but I think I may have 'second woman tendencies.'
Immediately after she left, I realize that life had handed me a lesson.
I hope, I really hope, I learn from it.