Life is an odd thing isn't it?
I was pushing myself towards the restaurant where I was joining friends for dinner. Joe had gone back to the car to get his glasses, he'd left them on the dash. I was enjoying the exercise that comes with the rhythm, push - roll - push - roll. I rolled by a group of people watching the World Cup on a screen set up in the mall. One of those watching broke from her group and approached me saying, "You are Dave Hingsburger aren't you?" I said that I was. She then told me how much my work had meant to her and how she thinks about her job supporting people with disabilities differently after having read my books and articles. It was a quick affirmation. I thanked her and we shook hands, then she was gone back to her group.
It was particularly nice because when we'd parked, in one of the disabled parking bays, we were right in front of a huge statue that sits outside the mall. The statue is on a raised piece of land and there are a few benches around it. On one of those benches sat a woman, maybe 50, who noticed me get out of the car and into my chair. She stared one long continuous stare as I made the transfer from inside the car to standing beside the car to sitting in the chair to putting the leg rests on to turning to leave. The stare was accompanied by a slow shaking of her head, in quiet disapproval. Her face was disapproving and judgemental. I was someone she disapproved of, deeply disapproved of. She knew I'd seen her, she wanted me to see her. Disapproval isn't worth it's salt if it doesn't flavour someone else's day.
My life often ping pongs between approval and disapproval, value and worthlessness, honour and hatred. But it doesn't usually happen so closely, one to the other. What troubles me, and I may be alone in this, but I know that in a week or two I'm going to remember one of these two interactions. One of these two women will stay with me longer than the other.
Wanna guess which one?
Because the answer to that question is one of the tragedies of my life.