Friday, May 13, 2016

Walking Home

Being sick isn't fun. I got a bug on the road that I've not been able to shake. We drove 16 hours straight to get home so I could get in to see the doctor. End result? I've been grounded from travel for a couple of weeks while tests get run and doctors get seen. I hate having to cancel trainings and apologize, again, to those I've let down. So, on top of being sick I feel horrible about the inconvenience that my illness has caused others. (Joe insists I say here that I don't have anything life threatening - he says he gets weary of people hearing I'm sick and morphing that into rumours of my demise.) Not a great time for me.

People don't know this of course.

That's how weak I am right now, I thought that a good excuse.

I was coming back from the doctor, note in hand about travel, a bag full of bottles to collect samples (it's not a sample, it's a disgusting bottle, actually several bottles, full of poo) when a tour bus pulled up beside me. It's one of those double decker buses that take tourists through the downtown core. I heard the young woman, who was giving the tour, her voice echoing in the cavernous space between two large buildings, about something historic. I looked up to see what she was talking about. I shouldn't have looked. I had every right to look, but, I shouldn't have looked.

Instead of looking at where she was pointing, several tourists were looking at, pointing at, aiming cameras at me. I may be old but I'm not historic. I immediately rushed ahead, leaving Joe in the dust as I raced to get away from those freaking cameras. I don't want to end up a fat meme on the Internet. I raced to get away, I'll admit it, from the points and the stares and the laughter too.

I found myself strangely really, really, hurt by this. Now this isn't new. This is something I go through regularly, daily even. These tour buses are something I know are inherently dangerous to the different and I've got strategies for dealing with the situation and the nastiness that comes with it. But I used none of them. I'm not feeling well. I'm also feeling really vulnerable from having to cancel some lectures I was looking forward to giving.

And then, amazingly, I told myself, in a forgiving tone, that they didn't know that it was a hard day for me. I forgot that, well or not, sick or not, vulnerable or not, it's not acceptable to treat other people as if they are spectacles on display as if they are the freaks in the show. It's not acceptable to point at, stare at, laugh at, people simply going about their business.

I had to shake myself and remind myself that being hurt is a natural response to being targeted by mean people. My level of personal vulnerability is of no concern to them because they shouldn't be purposely setting out to humiliate a stranger.

It's not my fault.

I know that.

But I have a helluva hard time remembering it.


Belinda Burston said...

Reframing back to truth. I am horrified at the rudeness and insensitivity of the public at large.

kstableford said...

Mean people suck.

Unknown said...

Oh dear.....having a GI bug stinks, (pun intended), and another encounter with rude insensitive people does "add insult to injury". And you are right, it is not about you. I'm glad you were able to speed up your walk home....and that home is a safe place to be. The nurse in me says just take care of yourself right now, the outside world will be there when you feel better in a few weeks. Clairesmum

Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt said...

Turn, wave regally, and smile - they will be lucky to have a beautiful picture of our Dave.

Shame on them if they have any other intentions.

Mary Nau said...

I'm sorry, Dave, that you had to go through that. It hurts and how I know it. I'm glad your doctor's curtailed your travel. Glad Joe asked you to write that you don't have anything life threatening. (I'm one of those people prone to worry.) Looking forward to better days on your way.

Frank_V said...

If you were not sick already, their behavior would be enough to make anyone sick to their stomach.