Travelling again, by plane, means that I'm in my manual chair for most of each day. Until these last two trips, first Edmonton now California, I travelled primarily with my power chair. I found that, while the power chair made everything easier, I had lost a lot of power in my arms and shoulders. I, suddenly, found myself needing help for even short distances.
Now, however, I'm getting that strength back and can push myself for long stretches without need of assistance. It's nice to have that back. It's great to feel my arms and shoulders work, it's great to have a natural tired after a long while out. It's nice.
That explains, I hope, why I didn't really notice the first time that someone, in this case a security guard, say, "Great to see you pushing yourself."
OK, I admit, I smiled and nodded. It was great to be pushing myself.
But, then, after hearing that several times. It started to become a bit, I don't know, intrusive. Why were these people talking to me? Why were they making comments on my activity? Why was I being pulled into interactions with strangers about simply moving through my world?
I know, I know, some will say that I don't give people a break, that they were just being nice.
And I think they were.
Their sentiment was nice.
But I don't notice people making comments about other people moving through their world, other people just going about their business.
There is something about disability that just gives people permission to comment on our lives,our activities, and our bodies. I say this because of the many comments I've had all of those things said ...
'Gotta have great arms to get all that weight around, good on you!'
'Nice to see you out, and all by yourself too.'
'Can't you afford one of those electric chairs? At least you can get yourself around.'
I can honestly say that I go nowhere without commentary.
Anonymity is simply not possible. I heard a woman once say that for her it was like space belonged to men and women passed through it. I understood that to the depths of my being. I have lost the idea that any space, any space, belongs to me. Space is given to me grudgingly. And I pass though space owned by others.
As I don't want to be seen as rude or bitter, I either smile or nod in response. I find that when I'm pushing hard, I can't engage in conversation.
Which, I think, ultimately, is lucky for everyone.