I have a twin!
At least that's what I'm told.
We were just finishing our breakfast, down at the hotel restaurant, when a man, about my age, approached me. Joe got a 'WTF now?' look on his face. I understood that look, there is something about me, about my wheelchair, about my very essence, that draws me into conversations, interactions and confrontations with strangers. We can never, ever, tell which of those is coming. Never. I get weary of it, Joe is now far past weary of the whole thing.
The man, surprisingly, spoke directly to me and asked if I still owned, and here he named a local business the name of which I didn't fully catch, in town. I was a bit surprised because of all the questions I could have been, and often are, asked, this has never been one of them. I told him that I was from Toronto and assured him that I wished I owned a business in Halifax but that I do not. He smiled and told a story about him and the guy who owns that business. In all that he told me that I could be his twin brother. Again, I am not often mistaken for someone else, so this was kind of nicely odd.
Just as he was leaving he said, 'Yeah, you look just like him, funny thing is, he's disabled too.' We all laughed and he went back to his table.
Several things impressed me about this little conversation.
1) When he said I looked like the person, he was saying 'I' looked like the person. It's nice to have my appearance be based on facial features rather than the make of my wheelchair - if you know what I mean.We didn't look alike because we were both disabled, we looked alike AND we were both disabled.
2) He talked about this guy with clear affection and when describing him to me, he did so by telling me of his character not his shape, or his size, or his looks in any way. This other me is apparently a man of genuine warmth and welcome. I think I'd like him.
3) In the end when he described him, he use the term 'disabled' without stumbling over it, without embarrassment of any kind. It was just another fact that made us look alike. I like it when the term 'disability' in reference to me, or to another, is said like it's just another descriptor, just another word. So many people have difficulty fitting the words 'disability' and 'disabled' in their mouths. This guy just said it like it was any other word.
I have a twin.
He's a nice guy.
And his friends are too.