The last two days have been wonderful! It's warmed up, and Joe, who has lovely legs, is back in his shorts. Even though I've been tired after work, we've gone out each and every day. How often do you get 20 degree (C) weather in the middle of November in Canada?
Yesterday we met two very different men, both in big power wheelchairs like I use. The first was a guy in the bookstore that we were in. The one I mentioned yesterday when I wrote about my fellow customer approaching me. This guy's chair looked like a lounge chair on wheels. He looked so COMFORTABLE!
I was heading northwest and he was headed southeast. There was a woman standing at one of the computers looking something up. When done she looked a little bit startled to see me coming towards her from one angle and him from another. His voice came out as if it was manufactured in a gravel pit, "We're out in force and we have you surrounded!" he said, and then laughed. I broke into a grin as well. The woman at the computer got into the spirit of the thing and said, "I am captured!!" We all, then laughed, and went on our way.
Really pleasant guy.
The next fellow was also in a big chair and he was waiting at the elevator. I pulled up beside him. I had seen him push the call button and knew, of course, that he would be next in line for the elevator when it came. But, I was in a bouncy mood after the fun in the bookstore and I said, "I'll race you to the next one when it comes." He scowled. I got it, I intruded into his space, I said, "Oh, sorry, just joking around." We all waited in silence for the elevator to arrive.
When it did he got in, spun his chair around to face us. He screwed up his face and spat out "I'm not one of you!" as the door closed.
Oh. My. I wasn't exactly sure what he meant, but I'm thinking that he maybe meant he didn't identify as a disabled person and didn't want associations with one, even for a moment.
There are all sorts of ways to deal with disability. In all my rides on the bus, in all my random meetings on the street. I find that those who have identified as having a disability and are 'out' with it, just seem like happier people. This isn't scientific, but it just makes sense.
Here's to being happy, to being out and to living within identities that you have come to be proud of.