"You're an odd one aren't you?" he said to me after he offered me help, which I refused, to get up and out of my chair to transfer to the car. Now nevermind that I consider that a really intimate service, which I need from time to time when my disability acts up, I think it's presumptuous to suggest that I wouldn't have those bases covered. I mean, I didn't become disabled seconds before and find myself in needing of a help that wasn't available. I was curious as to how he considered me odd. So, I asked, "In what way am I odd."
He told me that he was surprised I turned down my help because, in his experience, vast no doubt that it is, disabled people really appreciated being helped and often would take it just to have human contact. I saw Joe, who was opening the trunk of the car at the time, freeze, look from me to him and then shake his head.
"I think it's odd that you think its odd for a member of a minority group to be an individual person and react in individual ways to situations. I think it's odd that you comfortably carry around a pathetic stereotype of disabled people and of yourself as the kind saviour. I think it's odd that you would ask a stranger, who is with another person, to let you touch them."
Now he froze.
Then, of course, "I was just trying to be helpful."
"Too bad because you just ended up displaying your bigotry."
That last comment was one that I maybe should have reconsidered more carefully but when my dander is up it's up. He became extremely angry and abusive, he didn't hit me though he wanted to. He ended by saying that I wasn't really one of the nice disabled people I was just a bitter fat man that couldn't walk because of the tonnage I carry.
Then Joe said, "Enough!"
Joe isn't very often assertive, most people think of him as this guy who laughs all the time. They don't think of his strength of character or the strength of his love for me.
Joe's intervention startled the man, who took one look at Joe's face and backed down. He apologized to Joe for loosing his cool, didn't apologize to me, but then, mercifully left.
We got in the car and drove in silence for a few minutes and then Joe said, "The dander?"