Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Stand Off

Image Description: A bad cartoon drawing of a guy in a power chair being blocked by a standing man.

Staring. Being pointed at. Being laughed at. Being made the butt of loud cruel stupid jokes. Okay, I don't like any of those things. But those things anger me more than frighten me. To be sure I can feel anxious before going out because of those things, but anxiety, at least how I experience it, is different than feeling an immediate fear of danger.

There are times when I am out when I feel my safety is in jeopardy, that someone is going to do something that could physically harm me. It is in those moments that I have, in the deepest core of myself, a desire to not be different, to not be centred out and to not be afraid. This happened to me on Sunday. Joe and I were coming home, strolling along together, chatting.

Then, suddenly.

A fellow who was walking towards us, an ordinary kind of bloke. The kind of guy that would be hard to describe to the police. Average height and build, average demeanor, engaging in perfectly normal behaviour. Then, out of the blue, as we were about to pass him, he steps to the side, placing his body immediately in front of me. I screech to a halt and stop. He stands there. We are very close. He doesn't look at me. He looks past me, as if he'd stopped to look ahead and as if I as invisible or immaterial to him. It was only a few seconds.

A few seconds where I felt in incredible danger.

A few seconds where I wished that I was actually invisible.

A few seconds where I just wanted, for once, to be able to be out and feel safe.

A few seconds where I wished I was different than I was.

Then, he stepped back and walked around me. And headed on. Completely oblivious to the damage he'd done. Or maybe not.

Or maybe not.


clairesmum said...

I would think he was purposeful in his action of invading your space. There are men who do this to women, especially in settings like elevators or crowded lines (like airports). Not a word is spoken - if you do raise your voice in protest, you are the one who draws attention.
Usually you can't move away, either - or the invader steps away just as you are about to move, leaving you thinking you imagined it.
Domestic abusers do it, too. I feel badly that this happened to you, Dave. Hope today is a bully-free day for you.

Colleen said...

I'm glad you are safe. His behavior makes no sense. Maybe he liked the sense of power? Maybe he liked making you feel vulnerable? If the answer to either of those is yes then he is a very scary person.

Anonymous said...

Aarrgggg! I hate sleazy troll situations like that.
Hang in there Dave with the knowledge that their disabilities are far more challenging then ours will ever be and that there are more good out there than bad. M.

Ron Arnold said...

Oh - I'm guessing definitely not. Average in every way except for an aptitude for cruelty and small grabs at power. I feel bad for the people in his life. I know the type.

CapriUni said...

I've not had very many encounters where I was the victim of hostile stares or silent violence, but once is more than enough. Even the incidents which occurred years ago leave an aching bruise in my sense of self.

[As an aside: twice, now, you've described your illustrative drawings as "Bad." This makes me want to squirm, because it feels like you're demeaning the value your own expression. And even though the drawings may be simple, they still help clarify your experience in a way that words, alone, cannot. That makes them important.]

Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt said...

This is what tasers are for. To give you the feeling that IF you needed to do something, you could.

Something non-destructive that would give you the time you needed to get away or get help.

I need to get me one of those.

Sheesh. Probably kicks puppies, too.

Anonymous said...

Do you not have a horn on your chair. I would hold it on continually until the guy moved. Others would look and see what is happening. Take back the power!!!