Sunday, November 09, 2014

Bigotry, Out Loud

I saw her about the same time she saw me. I was looking towards the ramp, as I headed towards it, from the top. She was looking towards the ramp, as she headed towards it, from the bottom. Now mostly when someone walking sees me heading towards the ramp, they scoot over a bit and take the three stairs beside it.

She did not.

It became clear to me that she was going to get there first so I slowed up and pulled over to be out of the way of the top. At the time I really thought nothing about this. I do this kind of thing several times a week. It's no big deal. What made this different is that when  I looked to see her progress, I found her staring at me hard. Really hard. Like she wanted me to feel the stare.

It was a hostile and hateful look.

Again most people when they see someone with a disability waiting to use the ramp, trot up the ramp quickly.

She did not.

She walked slowly, deliberately. I could here her boots, expensive, as her heels, high, as they landed each step. And with each step her eyes tried to burn hatred further into my soul. I had no idea what was going on. I had no idea why she was walking so aggressively slowly. I had no idea why she felt the need to target me with that cold, hard, angry stare.

I was sitting at the top of the ramp, comfortably out of her way. I just smiled pleasantly at her. I decided not to take the bait. I had not been in a rush, I had no where I desperately needed to be. I could easily wait for her to walk up the ramp. My only concession to her aggressive challenge over the ramp, was to return her stare. I wanted her to know that I saw her just as much as she wanted me to know that she saw me. But I kept my face kindly. I know when my face is kindly, since I don't naturally have a kind face, I have to make it look that way, and that's what I had done.

Finally, she crested the top of the stairs. She was standing now right beside me. And forgive me for sounding over-dramatic here but I could feel her hatred of me waft off her. She stood, for a second more at the top of the stair, blocking my entrance and then left, walking quickly away.

I went down the ramp.

Nothing was said.

Everything was said.

I think I prefer bigotry, out loud.

12 comments:

Jayne Wales said...

Nazi obviously in her Jack boots

Sharon said...

When I see something like this, or read about it, I always stop to wonder what has happened in this person's life to make them hate so strongly.
Kudos to you for putting on your nice face. Must have been difficult, but worth it in the end.

Jeannette said...

I agree with Sharon. That woman sounded deeply troubled.
Good for you.

Rose said...

Taking the "high road" can be difficult when faced with such situations. Good on you for doing that this time. There had to be a part of you that just wanted to challenge her with WTF is your problem?

Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt said...

When you have time, Dave, you should turn to writing fiction. You need an outlet for this major, but latent, talent of characterizing.

Her problem, obviously: ramps were DESIGNED to make it easier for HER (not people like her, just HER) to go up a level - and no true human would even consider getting in her way the smallest bit, so obviously...

All you can do with people like that is not let them bother you too much, and pray for them.

Anonymous said...

I feel sorry for that woman, and her attitude. As others have said here, likely something is troubling her. Good for you for not stooping to her level, though it might have been satisfying in a way. samm

Flemisa said...

Proud of your reaction.

I hope she nor anyone in her family every have to use a wheelchair. To have so much hatred towards something or someone which can be such a positive in a life.

I know I would rather be in a wheelchair than just sitting at home.

Colleen said...

My first reaction is similar to many other commenters - why the hate? Then I am also impressed with the way you handled it Dave. I was anticipating that she might get uncomfortable but no - wow! a very disturbed person.

B. said...

That's just plain weird. Wasted energy.

Anonymous said...

Not only did she not know the "rules" of good social behavior, or honoring others, she didn't know the "rules of the road". Any one going down a hill has the rights over someone coming up if there is not room for both. You had the right of way in more ways than one!!!

clairesmum said...

Sharon put my reaction into words...thanks, Sharon. Have had folks with this level of hatred as clients - i remind myself that at least I am not related to them - so they do not have the opportunity to turn that HATE on my real self. They can hate the aspect of me that they do know...but that is not all of me and so I am still safe.
You write this so well. Some of these vignettes could expand into short stories, or to training scripts for role plays, perhaps...

GP Joa said...

Some people are just over the top in attitude as well as ignorance. It's these kind of people that make me wonder why some have evolved and others have been left behind in human evolution. There will always be those that feel they are better than everyone and anyone, and that is just an unfortunate truth.