Thursday, June 10, 2010

So ...?

I was sitting out by the car guarding the luggage that had yet to be loaded into the trunk. Joe was up getting more luggage and I was sitting like a guard dog ensuring that all was safe. We were in the parking lot just by the building. The day, sunny and warm. I watched as a fellow drove a van into the parking lot and then managed to back it into a fairly small parking space. I think parking should be an Olympic sport and if it was, he would have got at least into the final round.

He got out and nodded to me as he walked by to the machine to get a parking permit for the van. He was behind me and I could hear him as he put the coin into the machine. I could also hear the unmistakable sound of the coin dropping right through and into the change dispenser. He uttered a mild curse and headed back to his car. He stopped and said, 'Would you happen to have a toonie? The machine doesn't like the one I used.' I said, 'It can be temperamental. I don't think I have change but let me check.' I pulled my wallet out and all I had was a nickel. You can't park for seven seconds in that lot for a nickel. He said, 'That's OK, I'll check the van.' I said, 'Good luck.'

He came back from his van holding up a toonie for me to see. He walked by and then dropped the coin in the machine. This time it worked and the permit was printed out. On his way by he punched me in the shoulder and said, 'Hey thanks for trying to get me change.' I said, 'No problem.'

That's it.

That's all that happened.

Right now you are thinking, 'And so? Why is this on a disability blog?'

Well, it's here because it's just such a normal, everyday interaction. An interaction between two ordinary people going about an ordinary day. Nothing exceptional. Nothing 'special'. I can't tell you how rare it is to have just a simple interaction that isn't tinged with something quite intangible but also something quite prominent that is related to the fact that I am sitting, others are standing. Disabled people ... I need to be careful here, I don't speak for all ... this disabled person doesn't want special. I want to take a pair of scissors and cut the extra off the ordinary and then just move on.

It was nice. Refreshing. To meet someone with the capacity to interact beyond difference, beyond extraordinary ... and into the land of everyday, typical, how ya doing bud, ordinary.

I want more.


theknapper said...

to be seen as just another human being and not other....whatever other is is lovely.

Glee said...

I get it Dave. Ordinary is what we love. Cos we are ordinary.

PolioQuad said...

Yes, and the service dog group promised that an assistance dog would take people's attention off my wheelchair and onto him. They were right. People used to make stupid comments about my chair, like "what a speed demon!" All they could relate to was my chair. Now, all they can relate to is my dog - who, thank god - is not so impaired.

Kate said...

Sure makes sense to me. I like it.

Tokah said...

Here here!

Moose said...

So, wait, does this make me a bad person if I'm using a scooter and see someone else in one and say, "Wanna race?"

[Doubly fun in the supermarkets.]

Tamara said...

Very cool. I get it. What I don't get is why it's so hard for so many people.

Anonymous said...

I make a point of acknowledging other people with disabilities when I'm out and about. A smile and a nod of the head as we go by - nothing big, no production, nothing special, but the same sort of acknowledgement that I give to people I know (when it's crowded) or everyone I pass (when it's not crowded).

It saddens me how often the person whose existence I have just recognized is so overjoyed to be noticed just like everyone else. I think we have kind of a fellowship of the crips, and I'll let my fellow crips know I've seen them when we're out and about. If no one else will recognize that they are there doing normal things, walking down a street, going shopping, then at least I will.

Maybe it's not much, but I think in some ways it is a radical and profound kind of activism - it's reminding them that their existence matters, but in a very matter of fact, just passing by kind of way.


Mark Pathak said...

Whats a Toonie??