Monday, August 25, 2008

12 doors.

OK, there is something that really pisses me off. It's going to be that kind of blog today. A rant for the sole purpose of getting it out, getting it said in an attempt at getting it out of my head.

It happened yesterday. It has happened a lot, but when it happened yesterday it stuck in my craw. (I don't know what a craw is, I don't know why things stick there, but in this case, I know for certain, it was, indeed, stuck in my craw.)

We went to the movies yesterday. The theatre we went to is one of those huge ones built on acres and acres of land. It plays somewhere near 617 films at a time. It's hallways are long vast corridors. We parked in the disabled parking area and even from there it was a long walk to the front door. The disabled door, the one that opens when you push the button with the wheelchair symbol was at the furthest point from the disabled bays. You have to walk by, 11 other doors to get to that door.

No matter we are used to design that seems to follow no design. Anyways, we get to the door and Joe pushes the button and the door slowly, slowly opens. I'm holding hard onto my wheels because I'm on a slope and to let go is to roll backwards. Once the twelfh door opens, Joe is back behind me and we attempt to get over the metal bump on the bottow. It requries some work. All this is made more frantic by a guy who lines up behind us to go through the door.

Behind us.

Not just behind us, but behind us and impatient.

Not just impatient, but rolling his eyes and looking at this watch impatient.

Not just looking at this watch but making little impatient noises to let us know he is here and we are in the way.

Understand there are 11 other doors. No line up at eleven other doors. He could step only one foot to the side and go into the door beside us. But no, he wants to make some kind of comment about us taking time getting through this frigging door. Joe and I manage to get over that sill and are headed to the door in front. It too has a button, Joe pushes it. I'm sweating now while the door slowly opens. He's still behind us, he's still acting like we are going to make him late for the movie. Words form in my mind, spill out of my ears, but no way am I going to engage him, talk to him. Screw him. There are 11 other doors. He's doing this on purpose. I'm not going to say anything. We get through the door, he gets in behind us and then rushes past, like he's got a very important appointment.

I hate feeling like I'm in the way, an obstacle in other's path. I hate being the easy victim of my own insecurities. I hate how strangers being assholes can affect my spirit ... my enjoyment of an event.

Then there he was, walking beside a woman, "Anyone ever tell you that you are a jerk?" she said, I don't know about what.

"No but I thought it," I muttered outside her hearing.

And felt immediately better.


rickismom said...

Well it seems he's a jerk to everyone (per his escort), so why let your insecurities act up?

Liz Miller said...

And also, time to write a complaining letter to the movie theatre management. The door on the opposite side of the parking? A sill that makes the accessible door inaccessible? Threat of rolling backwards while waiting for the door to open?

And next time roll over his toes.

Ruth said...

I know exactly the kind of theater building you're talking about and the door issue is tough from a wheelchair. I haven't been out there in a couple of years due to transportation issues, but the last time I did get out to the movies, I noticed how much work it was to get in there. The accessibility inside the theater itself had improved - once we got in! Take care, Dave.

FridaWrites said...

I could definitely identify with this statement: "I hate how strangers being assholes can affect my spirit ... my enjoyment of an event."

Don't you hate it when you're parked in the wheelchair bay and people are dangling their smelly feet right over your new wheels or using the rail behind you as a footrest, which is level with your nose? I don't want someone's clodhoppers dropping dirt on my new leather seat, nor is there a seatback to block that summer odor. With the scooter it's like that new car feeling--you don't want it to get scratched or dinged and you know it will over time, but you want to postpone it as long as possible.

At my work, people used to crowd right behind my scooter when I used the automatic doors. Bad idea since the threshold was too high and I couldn't always make it through on the first try--I would have to back up and try again. Since I can't turn and see behind me and have missed people in peripheral vision, that's dangerous for everyone. I very nearly almost nailed a jerk in the nuts once.

ntmjbmom said...

There are many jerks in the world..since I don't have a disability, I just write them off as jerks and don't let them affect me much.
It seems, because you see things through the perspective of one who does, you take it to heart and see it as some reflection on you and your disability.
They are just jerks.

When you told the story about the grocery store and the guy blocking your way or something (I can't remember the details), I remember thinking that has happened to me before but I didn't read anything into it other than the guy being very rude.

It makes me sad that you take such things to heart so much.

I know we all have times when we just need to vent about some stupid person, and just need people to hear us out..and I have done that in the past..but this time I felt compelled to share what I truly felt with you.

Many hugs,

ntmjbmom said...

I feel kinda bad that I posted my true thoughts..sometimes it's better to just shut up and listen.

I hope you take no offense.


ntmjbmom said...

Oh, and when I said I write them off as jerks..that is most of the time.

Of course, sometimes I take it personally..just not usually.

Wheeling said...


I do know what you are saying. I use a wheelchair most of the time, and it's hard to sort out when people are jerks to me because of the chair, and when they are just jerks.

But I can (on really rare, good days) get out of my chair for an hour or so. So I see the world from both perspectives. And I'm still stunned by the additional "jerkiness" I encounter when I use my chair.

It makes it hard not to take it to heart.

ntmjbmom said...

I guess I'll learn my son has a disability and is now in a wheelchair.

hugs to all (except the jerks!) lol

RusW said...

@wheeling - I know what you mean by seeing things from both perspectives.

I had an experience at Denver airport 5 years ago. At the time I weighed 500 pounds and was having a really hard time with back pain, my knees giving out and shortness of breath. I was clearly struggling and was offered wheelchair assistance. I knew I would not make it without help so I agreed. Being fat my entire life I was already used to rudeness but being in a wheelchair for 30 minutes was eye opening. I felt like I had become invisible. No eye contact from anyone. People stepping around and in front of me. When I was wheeled on to the tram people refused to move, step aside or make the slightest accomodation.

I was blessed to have a wonderful man from Nigeria who worked as an airport assistant pushing my chair. He actually scolded a few people along the way for their blatant rudeness. He deserved the $50 tip for pushing my big butt through that airport.

I don't mean to equate my 30 minute experience with that of someone who spends most of their life in a chair. I definitely experienced some of the worst and some of the best in people that day. Fortunately the kindness of one man that day trumped the disdain and rudeness I experienced from a handful of people in that 30 minute trek. I'll always remember him.

Dave, thanks for speaking your mind.

Anonymous said...


I think one of the things that makes the difference between the way that people with disabilities react and the way that non-disabled people react when others are jerks is this:

If someone is a jerk to you, most of the time it doesn't really make that much of a PRAGMATIC difference to your life. Usually they're not interfering in a major way with your ability to just go out and about and lead your life. So at least in theory, it really IS possible to just ignore the jerks.

But if a non-disabled person decides to be a jerk to a person with disabilities, then that is more likely to create barriers to the person's full participation in society.

For example, if I (as a deaf person) urgently need information ... and I go to the same person who has already been calmly helping 10 other people with the same type of question, and they decide to be a jerk by refusing to write down what they're saying when I ask, then I'm losing out on information that I might really need. So I may often have more reasons to be upset than simply, "This person was a jerk." In that case, I'm not simply upset because they were a jerk, I'm upset because their being a jerk made it very difficult or impossible for me to receive the EXACT SAME INFORMATION that everyone else was receiving.

Or even if the person is not directly interferring, their "being a jerk" can become very distracting in a way that can make it more difficult to concentrate on what I'm doing. For example, I can imagine if I were the one who NEEDED to take more time just to enter a door, I would find it hard to stay focused on doing what I need to do if someone were visibly huffing and puffing behind me. It would make me feel like "I should hurry" (even if I might know logically that really I have a right to take the time I need).

Or it might make me worried that the person might do more than just "huff and puff" if I'm not able to hurry up. What if he starts harassing me? What if he gets really belligerant? Are there people near by who will realize I am feeling threatened and step in to help? All of that would be very stressful.

And: I do think that people with disabilities, as others here have pointed out, do have more of a tendency to be targeted for "jerk behavior." Not because jerks necessarily target us (though maybe a few do), but because many people genuinely don't understand that, YES, people with disabilities genuinely NEED the accommodations we ask for. (Sometimes this might be simply because not all disabilities are visible, so sometimes the reason why we need certain accommodations is not clear to the casual observer. Sometimes this is because people just don't understand how certain disabilities "work.") So if our need for our accommodations momentarily causes them some mild inconvenience, then even people who aren't normally inclined to be jerks may engage in "jerk behavior" in reaction to that. And the people who are already jerks anyway think they have even more justification than usual.

John R. said...

Yup.....the woman he was with discovered it..... his true character and identity. Weenie. Yes, Weenie. I said it and will stand by my diagnosis.

Perhaps the diagnosis will make it into the next DSM.

Weenie: disorder of personality that consists of ongoing harassment and annoyance of citizenry who happen to be behind you, in a line, or behind you, in a car, on the road(aka tailgater). Weenies suffer from a need to bother and annoy. This pervasive personality disorder stems from years of development in which the weenie is not given attention. Most people learn to cope with this and develop strategies to find love and acceptance and attention in healthy ways. The Weenie is unable to reach this level of evolution and is unfortunately set to bother and enrage people who might be a bit slower or thoughtful than they are....Weenies are everywhere. Be on alert.

The best remedy and intervention with Weenies is to call them on their lame-ass complaining, grunting, tailgating, eye-rolling and overall bull crap. Tell them that they are being Weenies and do all possible to thwart their need to annoy, follow, menace etc....

Remember...if you are in a line in front of a Weenie, you are in FRONT of the weenie! Please remember that flatulence is easier than you may think....let one rip......

Dave, you and Joe had a full-blown weenie in your midst yesterday! Too bad you did not have black-bean soup prior to theatre.....You may have affected the quality of the day of that Weenie more insidiously....

Glee said...

Here's a word you can use when you encounter such a man in future Dave. He's a cockalorum. Look it up everyone, it will make you smile. :-)

FridaWrites said...

I'm told that doctors sometimes refer to such people as having craniosacral issues (not referring to real craniosacral issues), but something about the head and the behind.

RusW said...

optirectitis = shitty outlook on life