Saturday, February 04, 2017

The Magic Flute and the Guy in Line

Joe and Ruby on state at the Canadian Opera Company's performance of the Magic Flute at the Four Seasons Centre. Joe is wearing a long sleeved light brown shirt and Ruby is wearing her little black dress with a simple string of pearls. Joe has his arm around Ruby.


A couple of months ago I was notified that, because I had flown so much, I had been bumped up to the next notch of the frequent flier program I'm on. Oddly, Joe who sat beside me on each of those flights did not. The two levels have different benefits and different offers so we decided to say nothing and have a broader range of choices.

One of the first things offered at my level was the opportunity to use your points to bid on two tickets to the Canadian Opera Company's performance of 'The Magic Flute.' I talked to Joe and we checked dates and then we called Ruby's mom to see if Ruby was free to take one of the tickets. Ruby has shown interest in the opera, at 5 she sat with Joe and watched 'The Magic Flute' on DVD, asking him questions as she watched about what was happening and why. It was all arranged for the two of them to go.

Part of the 'prize' was that they'd be in the VIP section and they'd get to go backstage and meet the 'Queen of the Night' and the Director of the COC and look around the sets. They got home way past bedtime but I heard all the stories in the morning. Joe loved it. Ruby loved it. It was a tremendous experience and an awesome way to use some points.

Why am I telling you all this on a disability blog?

Well, there is a reason.

Last Wednesday I had to go to some medical appointments (I'm fine, actually, no, I'm really well) and we stopped for tea and a bite to eat on the way home. Joe went to get tea and I went to line up where we were going to pick up a light lunch. I was behind a man and a woman who worked together. The man spoke much more than the woman did, she seemed to almost be a prop that he used as an excuse to speak loudly about his rich life with his rich kids. After talking about his son's lovely home in a GATED community, he went on to talk about summer travel. Where's he's going, where he's been and where he'd like to go. He took a break to ask her if she was travelling this summer.

Just as she was about to answer, he interrupted her. He looked at me. Waiting in line up, and broke into my reverie. I was just being an anonymous person in line, semi listening to him because I had no choice. I couldn't stop up my ears with bread, it's a waste of bread and the crumbs get everywhere. But disability gives permission for social intrusion and he spoke to me. "I'm so sorry it must be so awful for you to have to listen to us talk about all of our travels, when you ..." He didn't know quite how to finish the sentence delicately, so he just waved his hand at me in a gesture that encompassed by body and my chair.

I looked at him, sympathy on his face, and said, "Does prejudice and presumption come really easily for you? I've always been curious about that?" I said it smoothly like I've said it before. And I have. A lot. He backed up quickly as if I'd slapped him. There was time so I said, "And she's not talked about travel, you have, exclusively."

I was done and tried to go back to my reverie.

He was upset. He said, "I was just trying to include you in our conversation."

"It was a monologue but you weren't trying to include me you wanted me to know that you were aware of my exclusion from your wonderful life in your wonderful privileged world." I was tempted to tell him how much I travelled what level of award I was on with my frequent flier program and that I had points coming out my wazoo some of which I was using for tickets to the opera.

But I didn't.

I didn't want to move from pitiable to inspirational and, I just wanted him to shut up.

He did.

5 comments:

Unknown said...

Excellent self defense,Dave. And the story of Joe and Ruby and the opera is lovely. knowing how flying can be such a challenge at times, the fact that you have accumulated a great number of miles shows how passionate you are about your work....
clairesmum

Sandra Fleming said...

Hoe lovely for Ruby and Joe to have such a wonderful experience.

How lovely for you and the lady to have a wonderful chance for a braggert to be shut down so nicely.

Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt said...

Guess what: he doesn't get the privilege of knowing everything that's on your mind - AND you spoke up for the woman who had to listen to him. Nice one-two knockout punch. Kudos. Well done.

Men talk over women all the time - they just don't get called on it, because that makes the woman that 'B' word you're teaching yourself not to use. We can't win, so rarely make a point of this.

The only solution is to be a famous woman AND make sure your interlocutor KNOWS it. I'm sure most people don't talk over Queen Elizabeth.

The garbage that came out when Australian scientist and mega-bestselling author Colleen McCullough (The Thorn Birds) died - about her weight, and her possibly philandering spouse and... is a perfect example. Or when Yvonne Brill (of NASA fame), scientist and engineer's obituary in the NY Times (I believe - didn't look it up again), mentioned that she made a mean Beef Stroganoff...

Ruby looks so grown up in her little black dress! What a treat for her and Joe.

Frank_V said...

When a narcissist includes ANYONE in their conversation, it is always to increase their stature.

Sherry-Lynn K said...

Nicely done.