Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Politics of Greeting

The first time I saw them, I heard them first. Two voices arguing as they approached to door of the hotel from the parking lot. They were maybe 10 years older than I and looked as if they had squabbled for the whole of that time. She carried a white, shiny purse hung on the crook of her arm, her hands balled into fists that pumped ever so slightly as she walked. She would control the world around her if she could. He kind of shuffled behind her. When she noticed me I got a tiny frozen smile, from her. When he noticed me, he nodded and acknowledge me with the one word greeting, 'Howareyoudoing?'

I answered, in the universal one word response, 'Fineandyou?'

He said 'Fine,' and then was gone. Just inside the door, open because of the warmth, they waited for the elevator and she lectured him on the appropriate etiquette when talking with cripples. Seems she was appalled that he asked me how I was, 'You never ask them that, what are they going to say, you just say, 'have a nice day' or make a comment about the weather.' When he asked where this rule came from she explained that it just made sense, 'They sit around in wheelchairs all day, what kind of day can they have, it just makes them feel bad when people ask, so it's best not to ask. The weather, the weather is safe for everyone.'

Then they were gone.

I wonder where she got the idea that we as disabled people can't have 'fine' days in the same way as everyone else. Most people sit around all day anyways, I just do it a little more often. Think of it you sit in movies, you sit to eat, you sit to watch television, you sit to read, you sit to poop. You sit mostly. Walking was invented to get you from one place where you sit to another place where you will sit again. So what's with the 'what kind of day can they have?' thing.

Just after check out I saw them again. This time I was waiting outside and they were coming from inside. She gave me the frosty grin again. He said, loudly and I believe in protest, 'So how you doing to day?'

I said, 'Beautiful weather.'

He grinned and said, 'Isn't it.'


Kate said...

That's beautiful. Do you think he knew by your response that you had heard the conversation? What nerve of that woman!

PS you are the only blog I ever get to comment first on, I love that you write late at night.

Tara said...

Wow. You have so much more grace than I do. I might've tripped her on her way out and then said, "Now it's a good day!"

Belinda said...

I loved his quiet refusal to be coached into submission.

Ha ha Tara, you made me laugh out loud with the mental image you conjured up.

Kristin said...

You and that gentleman handled that with grace. I think I would have resorted to Tara's solution.

Anonymous said...

I needed that post at the moment We sat in the Doctors Waiting Room the other night.

We were at there over some beurocratic mumbo jumbo "your plan for living" form.

Sent toward a differently enabled me and in my opinion based on altered material and wrong diagnosis which makes it not my file not my problem.

The system insists, having destroyed my real file and having no supporting evidence, that it is my file.

"I am not a Beurocrat and do not want to be and they are not Doctors" said the Doc.

Which struck me as very helpful, I am not a Doctor or a Beurocrat why should I do their work for them.

We returned the form, referring the beurocrats back to a previous Memorandum from a Technical Claims Manager on the subject of my identity, and admitting that the files somehow became "merged" but it would be up to me to prove they ever were.

Amazing how a Differently Enabled Persons file can get to a stage where not only is the client never asked for information, in fact deterred from giving it and the client can simply straight facedly send the system around to the same arguments it has raised before and never really be involved in the huge battle raging all about one but never involving one, I think I am sitting watching the Charge Of the Light Brigade somewhat.