|Image Description: a blue glove with a different feeling face on each of the finger tips and thumb.|
I felt caught.
Joe and I made had just turned east on Bloor when we stopped, chatted, and decided to turn back to the corner and cross over to the north side. As you all know I am using the scooter and one of the things I hate about the scooter is that it makes a beeping noise when it backs up. I find it noisy, unnecessary and it draws too much attention to what I'm doing. It robs me of anonymity. But I began to back up to turn round and go the way we'd freshly decided to go.
I was only seconds into the backing up process when a woman, who is 'known' in the area as someone who has difficulty with mental health, noticed me backing up. Now, I need to say, I am pretty good at doing this. I am careful, I always turn the power down so I have full control, and my caution works, I've never backed into anyone or anything. Even with my obvious care she came to full alert. Her arms flew out and up, kind of the position you see the airport people who guide in aeroplanes. And she began to shout, as loud as she could.
"STOP!! HE'S BACKING UP. MAKE ROOM. MAKE ROOM. MAKE ROOM. HE'S BACKING UP. HE'S BACKING UP. STOP!! MAKE ROOM. MAKE ROOM!"
I was mortified.
I don't like attention drawn to me that way.
I didn't need the help.
I knew instantly that she was trying to do something nice. She was trying to help me out. I knew that her motives were really good.
But I kept thinking. "Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!"
I wasn't close enough to her to speak to her and tell her 'thanks but I don't need help.' I would have had to holler at her and I don't think she would have heard me over her own shouting.
I felt angry.
I felt frustrated.
I felt really, really annoyed.
I wanted her to "Shut up."
Even though I knew, in my mind, that she was trying to help. I hated the scene that was being made. I hated that people all stopped, staring first at her and then and me and then back at her. I hated feeling centred out. I hated being the incident that people would talk about when they got home.
And I was angry with her.
I know that I need to be understanding. I know that she has her way of being in the world and I have my way of being in the world. I know that we both have a right to public space and that we have a right to be how we are in public space. I know all that.
But I didn't like what she did.
And it made me angry.
It may be wrong.
It may be unkind.
But that's how I felt.
I'm not sure what I should have felt ...