I was riding the bus with this rough and tumble guy who I've ridden with before. He's a cool dude, and, trust me, dude is exactly the right word. He's big like me. He isn't shy about his size, or his disability, or speaking about the prejudice that he experiences. It's no surprise, then, that we get on well.
He was telling me about his scooter. It's a big machine and he's proud of it's power to get him around. He takes very good care of it. He also uses a walker, but only for very short distances. He was telling me about a recent trip to the hospital wherein he and his friend, who's been with him on each ride, went for a coffee at Tims.
He told me that a woman, sitting at the next table, asked him about his scooter. He showed her the various features of it and, "I let her know I was proud of it and of how I kept it. This thing is cleaner that I ever am!" She asked him how much it cost and how he came to pay for it.
He thought the question was a bit personal but, "Well, I'm a talker." So he told her what he knew about the scooters cost and about the funding that paid for the scooter.
"You know what she said to me?" he asked.
I said that I could only imagine.
"She said, 'Why are you so proud of the scooter? My tax dollars paid for it.'"
He said he got mad and said, "I worked for thirty years, MY tax dollars paid for this. You got kids?" He said his tag on question caught her by surprise and she said that she did.
"Well, I paid school taxes my whole working life and I didn't have kids. I'll have my money back now please. Tens and twenties will be fine."
"That shut her up," he said.
Then he paused, "Sometimes they just need shutting up, not education, not understanding, just shutting up."
I nodded, because of course, I agreed.