Friday, October 01, 2010

Poor, Poor, UnGrateful Me

This morning we left the apartment early because we were picking up the keynote speaker for a conference hosted jointly by Vita and York Simcoe Behaviour Management Services. I had to be downstairs at 6:40 AM while Joe went to get a rental car. It was hot in the main lobby so I waited in the smaller lobby just inside the outside doors.

I brought my book and sat reading. It was early so I was left in the quiet for most of the time. Then I looked up to see the woman I described in yesterday's post, the one who threw herself against the wall as I pushed myself along. The woman who didn't listen to me. I guess I really upset her by looking annoyed, not grateful at the fact that she had made room where none was necessary.

I know this because she yelled at me.

She stopped at stared at me. With hostility.

"I was just being nice to you, I don't know what you people want." She said with way more anger than I thought the event called for. Beside, I kind of thought I was the one with the right to anger. I was the one not listened to. I was the one who didn't want to feel centered out by her actions.

But I guess I was also the one who didn't bow and scrape in gratitude for her actions. I was the one who didn't make her feel better for an act of charity that clearly cost her a lot to give. I was the one who didn't leave her feeling better about herself by debasing myself with gratefulness.

So, it pissed her off.

I looked at her calmly and said, 'All I said was that there was plenty of room.'

She said, 'I was being nice and you didn't even say thank you.'

I said, 'If that's what you need, I'd thank you to listen to me and to treat me simply with the same respect you want.'

'That's not what I meant,' she said storming off.

'I know,' is what I called after her.

Good morning to you too!


Clay said...

I don't think that woman will ever figure it out, Dave. In the meantime, I've given you the "Versatile Blogger Award". Please check my blog for details and requirements. ;-)

The Untoward Lady said...

Next time someone expects you to get down on your hands and knees to grovel before them in gratitude kindly point out to them that doing so is rather hard when you're in a wheelchair and all!


Glee said...

Excuse me while I go and throw up. Stupid woman!!

I had an incident yesterday where a woman was walking alongside me and then suddenly walked diagonally across my path and her heel caught on my footrest. She turned and made a grunt of hurt and anger at me accompanied by a cross look. I said - well you walked straight in front of me so you did it to yourself. She - so you don't care that it hurt? Me - No cos you did it to yourself. She - just cos you're in a wheelchair doesn't mean you can do things like that. Me - I didn't do ANYTHING. you walked in front of me. and on and on it went as she crossed the road to get away but kept commenting and I kept Yelling back. then we went around the corner and ended up on the same side again and again she crossed the road to get away still commenting and me still YELLING. They are just bloody weird awful pp.

Barbara said...

Oh good gracious, she really doesn't get it does she? *sigh*

Anonymous said...

The past interaction bothered her, kept her thinking....the same as it did you. You made her think! It is difficult for some.

Tamara said...

Dave -

I really think you should write her a thank you note, thanking her for enough material for two blog posts. And then you could include a little subtraction problem in the note - width of the sidewalk minus width of my chair equals room you had to continue walking and treating me like anyone else instead of making me your "random act of kindness" for the day.

And, Glee, way to go!

Dave Hingsburger said...

Years ago I wrote an article in a journal about deinstitutionalizationi and the 'burden of gratitude' that was placed on those who came home to the community. Staff thought that they should be grateful for everything! Odd, they were incarcerated for difference,then they were supposed to be worshipful of those who granted a freedom that should never have been take away. I was criticized then for not being more positive about the 'gift' of community to those in the community ... if you steal something and then give it back it's not a gift ... but then ... to me gratitude is a wonderful emotion, but grovelling isn't part of it's expression.

Nathan Dawthorne said...

I love it!

Just tell her the only time your on your knees is for immoral purposes and certainly not to worship her majesty the queen of kindness.

Moose said...

I was just writing about this. People who use mobility devices aren't people, they're objects.

Add to that the "See? I'm a GOOD person because I HELP the needy!" idjits and you have a bunch of bigots who can't see their own bias.

Yes, bigots. When you insist on treating someone as less than they are, you are being a bigot.

As others have said, asking is always fine, as long as you listen to the response and respect the words.

Kristin said...

It kills me when people expect praise for being decent to people with disabilities (or in your case, for not even doing that). It just shows that they don't accept people with disabilities as being equal members of the community.

Anonymous said...

I wish I could think as quickly as you, in these kinds of situations. I usually just get so flustered that I am rendered speachless.

Andrea S. said...


This comment is mostly just to let you know that I've sent you an email to your daveandjoe hotmail account. I put the name of the blog in the subject line, so hopefully it won't be caught by your spam filter!

I haven't checked Clay's link, but you deserve whatever Blogger awards you get!

Andrea S.

Walrilla said...

But you weren't grateful for her Martyrdom and her Great Sacrifice! Why, she even stopped her Forward Progress to allow you, a lowly disabled person, to go before her Great and Magnificent personage.


Bah, forget her! People like that will never understand what they did and why you won't bow down and kiss her fundament for it.

BK Amputee and wheelchair user for over a year, now up on a new prosthesis.

Betty said...

I wonder why so many people are so angry?

I wonder if they will ever learn to just live and let live.

I'm sorry it happened to you twice, but great blog.

Princeton Posse said...

A phrase of yours that I use often is pointing out the "obvious to the oblivious". Seems to fit in this situation.

Jeannette said...

Dave, my guess is that this woman may be deeply troubled. Her actions and words go way beyond any kind of common sense.
I don't think there's a blessed thing you can do, beyond smiling and nodding and moving on. And of course maybe saying a silent prayer to wish her well, and a prayer of gratitude that she is not a part of your daily life.

Colleen said...

Dear Dave:

As soon as she said, "you people" you know you are not talking as equals and she is never going to get this. Thwarted twice by "you people"!!!


Anonymous said...

"I'll help you or ELSE" yeah.


Lene Andersen said...

"You people"???

Glad you had the presence of mind to tell her what was missing. Even though she'll probably never get it. I'd have come up with the brilliant statement about respect an hour later.

The constant requirement to make people feel good about helping me - even when it's their job - makes me so weary.

Dave Hingsburger said...

She lives in my apartment building so I anticipate future 'run ins' but it's nice to learn here that I'm not off my nut and that I don't have to feel grateful for help I don't need or want. Cool folks.