I wasn't very nice to someone today and I'm not happy about it.
Sometimes I'm just a jerk.
I went into a session, that I really wanted to attend, and found, again, that there was no seating provided for wheelchair users. Conference hotels have never, ever, in my vast experience of them, taught their set up crew to include one or two seats in a room that are accessible to wheelchair users. So, I go in and, of course, there was no where for me to sit except in the wide aisle between the tables on both sides of the room.
This meant several things:
1) I stuck out. I get enough attention for difference I don't need additional attention because of being forced to sit, entirely on my own, in the middle of a freaking room.
2) I had no where to set my stuff down so that I could take notes efficiently. I'm there to learn, I think best with a pen in my hand,
3) I tried to stay at the back of the room to stay as out of view as possible and was told to move because I was blocking the door. No non-disabled person who came and stood in the same spot was ever asked to move. I'm a fire hazard, they are just exercising their right to be wherever the frick they want to be.
So I was unhappy. Not a good way to start into the learning process. A woman, very nicely, offered to get out of her seat and give up her spot. I didn't want her to do this. I didn't want to be in this situation. As I was with the room volunteer when she offered, a volunteer that looked hopeful that this would be a solution, I said, "No thanks, I don't want pity, I want planning."
I don't think she was offering pity.
I don't know if she heard me but I hope not. But even if she didn't my dismissal of her offer was, without question, rude.
Finally a fellow beside me, without my noticing, moved himself over which freed up an end of a table. I saw a spot to put my stuff so took it and thanked him for having moved.
But throughout the session I listened, and I did learn, it was a good session, I thought about my reaction to the woman who kindly offered to move and the jerk face response I gave. Like, really, it wasn't her fault and she was offering a solution.
Sometimes I can be such a jerk - to the wrong person.
And yes, of course, I did speak to people from the planning committee about the issue. But here's the thing, I don't think it will help. Not because they aren't good people but because conference hotels work really hard to make bathrooms accessible and then, in their conference rooms, act like we come to the hotel to poo but not to participate.
Isn't that odd?
I was rude.
Shouldn't have been.
Need to stop being a jerk to people who are just being nice.