Sunday, March 25, 2007

Miss Manners

"Yeah, I do!"

Four of us got together to go to a movie this afternoon. This is a rare event, it's hard to find a time when all schedules allow for us all to go on an outing. We'd decided to go see 'The Last Mimsey' forgetting that this was Saturday and the theatre would be full of children. That is until we walked in.

Now, being in a wheelchair, I have only two seating options. Left or ... Right. Upon entering we saw the seat next to the disabled spot taken by a family. None disabled. None in a wheelchair. I said, not to them but to my friend, "Maybe the other wheelchair seat has space." Then I looked up to see that it was full, too, again with a family without a disabled member. This meant that I would have to sit by myself beside a group of strangers. Fun. Wow.

The people closest to me refused to even look in our direction. But the other family, noticing, said, "Not to worry, we've got lots of other places to sit." They got up and thusly made room for all of us. As I was wheeling back into the spot I noticed that the kid sitting behind me would have a bit of trouble seeing over me because I sit tall in my chair. The kid said to his mom, "Does he have to sit THERE?"

"Yeah, I do," was all I said.

Sensing an oncoming scene my friends started thinking about options. I said, plainly, "I have only two choices, they have over a hunderd. I'm sitting here. What else am I supposed to do?"

The mom behind was clearly upset and had her son move to the seat on the other side of her. Muttering and grumbling about my blocking his view.

Excuse me.

Excuse me.

I mean, excuse me.

What the hell happened to consideration for others? Isn't that something a parent is SUPPOSED to teach to a child? Isn't that part of the job? Isn't selfishness to be discouraged?

Is it me ... or is anyone else mourning the loss of just plain decency?

I actually miss manners.

I know that I can be crusty, but only when I need to be. I don't expect the world to make every accomodation for me ... without me having to make the occasional accomodation for the world.

There were only two spots for people with disabilities.

Sorry I had to use one.

Luckily the movie was wonderful, charming even. And as the story unfolded I thought more about the family that got up and gladly moved and less about Momzilla and monster boy behind me. There still is kindness in the world.

But even so the would would be better with the occasional "please", the passing "thank you" and a smidgen of flexibility.

N'est pas?


lina said...

yes sir it would be!
But, there continues to exist more good in this world then bad, which is why when the momzilla's of the world rear their ugly heads (and it does happen frequently - unfortently), we are stunned, at the basic lack or inability to use decent manners. This does exist, in all forms and in many places, and yes, manners do count- and do make a difference, and I too miss them. I have to say though, that for the most part, this rude behaviour of no 'please', 'thank-you', or how about the old 'hello and goodbye!', is not the norm and for this I am thankful! (Long response - I do think you hit a nerve!)

Anonymous said...

we get this almost everytime we take our severely autistic daughter out. it gets old. we have found that for many typically developing/functioning families their 5 minute encounter with us is treated as an insult. eye rolling, comments "does she have to clik that pen", pointing, immitating her. as if life isn't hard enough. we went to an amusement park and my daughter was having a blast. finally something we could do as a family! in line for the roller coaster a boy about 10 was pointing at her. the mom looked at her, started laughing and then immitated her. i asked the woman to pleas stop because it was hurting my childrens feelings. her come back "why do you bring a retard out in public!?". at that point my nt children started crying and we left. ruined day because for 5 freaking minutes that woman couldn't shut her mouth. now that my autistic daughter is 9 when i explain that she has autism i usually ge something like "oh is that the new word for bad parenting". everything is about "their moment" and they don't want it "ruined" by anyone, for any reason. i better stop now.

Anonymous said...

what occurred to me it thank goodness you have the strength and courage to continue to fight for the rights of those who society disables.

Others would have given in. Why should they have to continue to fight for their basic human rights?

Anonymous said...

Dear Dave-Oui.Oh, and to anonymous who was disgustingly insulted by that pig of a woman at the amusement park, I would have said to her"I don't know-why did your kids bring an ignorant bitch out in public?" Great-I really needed all this adrenaline coursing through my veins at 11:15pm.Frances