Again with the toilet.
We'd done our shopping. I stayed with our bags while Joe went off to pee, then he came and waited while I went. Alone. Independently. Because I don't need help doing this.
I got to the door of the accessible loo and pulled it open, suddenly right behind me, a woman is holding the door open. I don't need someone to hold open the door. It's silly but I get embarrassed, I'm an adult man heading into use the toilet and someone I don't know is forcing assistance on me. I told her that I was fine. She told me that she'd close the door behind me once I was in. I told her that she needn't worry, I can do that all by myself.
She surprises me by letting go of the door. She watches to make sure she isn't needed. Again, I'm embarrassed, she's watching me get into the bathroom, turn my chair around and then reach to close the door. As the door is closing, she grabs it again, stopping the door from moving and says with deep meaning and a warm smile, "You lot are so brave." She lets go and the door closes.
I sat there, we're already in the bathroom, I might as well stay there a bit, and thought about what she said. I don't think closing your own bathroom door fits into the category of heroics for which bravery can be properly assigned. I really don't. I don't see how it can be in anyone's mind. We live in a day where heroics are often seen by people who resist the ugliness of hatred and bias and bigotry, taking a poo behind a door you've closed just doesn't seem anywhere near an apt comparison.
But then I thought. Maybe bravery does apply. Coming out and being out as a disabled person in a society that either demeans, dismisses or deifies our presence does take a certain amount of, if not bravery, then certainly verve. I admit there have been days when I simply couldn't go out because I didn't want to deal with what would inevitably happen. They are rare, but they are there. The wheelchair is a magnet for social inappropriateness and I'm a fairly large target.
On the way out assistance was forced on me again, I said nothing, except 'thank you' because I simply wanted to get out, get back to Joe and head on out. I didn't have the strength to fight two battles the same day. I let her hold a door that didn't need holding.