We were going to meet friends for lunch, Joe wanted to pop up to the room to drop off stuff we didn't need. I pulled over and waited, not realizing that I had backed into place beside a luggage cart. As soon as I saw it I fled and parked much further away. I sat there with my heart beating in my chest. Panic.
I noted that beside the luggage cart was a popular place for the non-disabled to wait for each other. Three or four people did so in the time I waited for Joe. I knew that with the conference in the hotel the elevators caused a bit of a wait time. So I watched them stand there, no anxiety. No fear.
I have been mistaken for luggage.
I have been treated like luggage.
I have been transformed into a thing to be moved.
I know what it's like to assume my humanity when others do not.
I have had my chair grabbed and shoved, against my will.
I have been made to move to get out of the way when I was already out of the way.
I have been referred to as a tripping hazard by overzealous security guards.
I am not luggage.
Here's the thing. Ableist privilege is being able to stand by a luggage cart with the surety that passers by can see the difference.