Wednesday, November 07, 2018

On Our Way to Ellen's

When in New York City, we stayed at a hotel in Times Square. We did this for a couple of reasons, one was we love the energy of Times Square and two was that it was only a short walk to go to Ellen's Stardust Diner. We try to go there every time we go there. It's touristy and the line ups are long, but it's a fun place where young people studying voice and acting can work and earn some money while going to classes or auditions. They serve tables but they also get to sing and perform for the customers there. We make an appreciative crowd. So, that was our goal.

Lots of the curb cuts have been renovated from dangerous drops to smooth transitions. It's an uphill push on fairly slanted sidewalks so it's not easy. Further, some of the curb cuts, the further you got from Times Square had not been renovated and were steep and in poor repair. One street corner had no cut curb at all. But we were taking it all in stride and Joe walked with my as I fought to get there under my own power.

Then one of the curbs I was pushing up was really steep. I was making my way up. This is where I find that my right arm is stronger than my left arm and because of that my chair turns slightly. What I do then is just get the right side of the chair up and then use body motion and the left arm to finish the job. However a fellow going the other way, sees me struggle and leans right over me to grab the handle behind me. He is right in my face, and because of the way his body was poised at the moment he had no strength to help. I asked him, my lips very nearly touching his sweater, to let go of me.

It took several asks but he did finally let go, annoyed he hadn't helped an annoyed that I'm annoyed. But we say nothing to each other and he's gone. But now I'm stuck, I have lost momentum and my left arm just isn't going to make it. People are gathering to watch. I let out a grunt and pushed as hard as I could and I popped onto the sidewalk and we went on our way.

We got to the diner and when it was our turn we were taken in, the place was packed. We were directed to a table and as I turned to follow the waitstaff, one of the other staff reached to 'help' me push there. She was cut short, "Did he ask for help?" "No." "Then leave him alone, you don't have consent." The speaker was one of the waitstaff who would be performing later. I don't know where he learned what he learned, but I'm glad he did. I had not seen the 'coming help' but he had and he spoke up.

This post is not about the man who tried to pull me up a curb.

This post is about the man who insisted on my right to consent.

Two different men.

Two very different people.

3 comments:

clairesmum said...

Glad that a negative experience was so quickly balanced by a positive one...
Just realized that it is probably hard for Joe to refrain from intervention - as that would reinforce all the stereotypes that are not true of you and many people who use mobility devices.
NYC overwhelms me after about 2 hours...just a country girl at heart.

Karry Carr said...

I am a caretaker and take one of my individuals to NYC a couple of times a year. We always go to Times Square. She is in a wheelchair and we have some stories like this, too. Some people get it, some don't.

Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt said...

Except in a rare and true emergency, you can always help later.

You can never 'unhelp.'

So wait, and it will become clearer. Consent is icing on the cupcake.

I like your second young man.