It may seem a small and petty thing. Even knowing that it probably is small and petty, however, doesn't make the feeling go away. We were leaving the movie theatre and when we went to the elevator it was broken down. No panic, we know they have service elevators in the back as this has happened before. We approached a staff who radioed someone telling them of the situation, a voice crackled through saying, "You can take the wheelchair and the other guests down the staff elevator."
Did you notice what what said?
The wheelchair and the other guests.
The fellow, a nice guy himself, given permission started leading us over to the elevator while saying "I can take you all down." I stayed put. He looked back at me questioningly. I said, "I'm not sure what I am supposed to do?" He explained that the elevator would take us down. I said, "But what am I supposed to do? Wait here?"
He was lost.
"Well, you're taking the wheelchair and the other guests. What about me? Do I wait here?"
Realization dawns on his face.
"No, no, he meant that all of you could come down."
"But he said, 'the wheelchair and other guests.'"
He was pretty quick on his feet, "Well, that's what he said, I said we could all go down together." He's right, he did say that. We went down.
We went down.
Not "the wheelchair and other guests."
This doesn't happen often, but when it does it irks me. I feel invisiblized, which is a word that doesn't exist but it should, people with disabilities and those in other minorities will understand it's meaning instinctively.
"Petty and over concerned with language from people who don't mean anything by it." I know that's what will be said. But the fact that you don't place meaning on your words doesn't mean it's not there. Ever think of that?