Thursday, July 14, 2016

hatched detached

Just how alien am I?

Was I hatched, detached?

On Sunday we went to the museum with Ruby and Sadie to see the Chihuly exhibit, which was astonishing. To hear children gasp at the sight of something incredibly beautiful and fantastical and then watch their imaginations burst on fire is part of why we try to get the kids to shows like these. To be fair, it wasn't just the kids in the room that were reacting to the exhibit with awe and, often, stunned silence. One of the best shows we've see there.

Afterwards the kids wanted to go for a bite in the 'eatateria' as Sadie calls it. As we were there and as we had time we asked if the kids wanted to go anywhere else in the museum. We're a lucky group because all of us love the place, and when they both said that they wanted to stay and both had galleries they wanted to go and visit, we filled our afternoon there.

Finally we decided to go up and visit the bees and go through the bat cave again. There was a volunteer there who chatted with the girls about the bees and answered their questions in such a way that encouraged more questions, a rare talent. So I fell back a bit to give the girls their space and to get myself out of the way of the traffic of parents and kids going through the area.

So Joe was sitting on the ledge over by the kids, the kids were at the bee hive and I was off to one side. I can see how I might have looked as if I was on my own. As such, when someone approached me with that assumption I wasn't surprised. Then I realized they were a little suspicious of me being there. I responded by saying that I was with the girls who were looking at the bees.

There was a moment of surprise.

"Oh, you have family?"

My immediate response is to go defensive and say that I'm married and that, yes, I have friends and family, and yes, I have kids in my life, and yes, I'm part of an intricate web of relationships. But I said none of those things.

I just said, "Yes."

Being different, being disabled means always being on the spot to provide education to people both about disability and difference but also about who you are and how you live your life. But it isn't always education, is it, it's a kind of 'justification' of your existence as a fellow being.

When education begins with the question 'Oh, you have family?' you realize exactly how far we have to go.

Because apparently.

I look alien enough to be hatched detached.


Unknown said...

ugh....i hope the ugly biped didn't completely take away the beauty of the exhibits and the joy of time with Joe, Ruby, and Sadie.

Andrea Shettle, MSW said...

I have now officially heard all the different ways that people have found to dehumanize people with disabilities ...

Until, of course, the next time that I hear something new ...

Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt said...

Miss Manners recommends answering impertinent questions with some variation of "I had no idea my personal life was so interesting to strangers" and "Why do you ask?" and "Why on Earth would you ask a perfect stranger that question?" thus putting the onus back on the rude person, politely.

I'm starting to see the value to that.