The movie was better attended than we thought it would be. That surprised us. What didn't surprise us was that the one accessible seat, with the symbol all over it, was taken. There were lots of other seats available, but that one was gone.
I asked the woman sitting there if she realized that the seat was an accessible seat. She said that she did not and immediately got up and grabbed her stuff. She looked back at the seat, once she stepped out, and said, "I honestly didn't notice the wheelchair symbol." She then took a middle seat in the next row forward. We thanked her for her immediate willingness to just move a little forward.
It had been a simple and pleasant interchange.
Or so we both thought.
As we sat through the trailers and munched our popcorn, we noted that the woman seemed to be a little bit upset. I wasn't sure why. It had been a simple and pleasant interchange. She had chatted a little bit with her new seat mates, she had an empty seat on either side of her so she wasn't wedged in next to anyone. It all seemed to be so easy and so, I'll say it again, pleasant.
The movie started.
About ten minutes in, she stood up and dashed out of the theatre.
I watched the movie while running through the request I made to make use of the accessible seat space. I thought of the little chatter that happened with us, both our thank yous, the chatter she'd had with her new seatmates. It had all seemed so easy and so friendly.
This morning, I got up to write about this and realized while doing so ...
What if this isn't about me at all?
What if this has nothing to do with our interaction?
What if the two things, my asking, her leaving, have nothing to do with each other?
Why am I not trusting that my memory and Joe's confirmation that it had all been pleasant and friendly?
Is there a danger of making connections that may not be there?
Is disability sometimes not really part of the story at all?
And the most important question: Why am I still thinking of this four days later?