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.