Wednesday, November 03, 2010


She had two toned hair. Black and purple. Her back was to me when I sat down so I didn't see much of her face but I guessed, correctly as it turned out, that she might have been in her early twenties. She had a walker parked next to her and she sat across from a woman with blond and very busy hair right across from her. I was upset.

We had pulled in to get something to eat. The disabled parking bays were all full so Joe pulled up at the front on the building, where the ramp was, to let me out. A fellow was standing, smoking. He was of the 'way old enough to know better' age. By that I mean there is a certain age that once you hit, much is expected, manners, comportment, a certain degree of grace even of the rough hewn type. I could see immediately that he was curious to watch me get out of the car and into the chair.

I hate being watched, I'm not Flipper, my life isn't Marineland. When Joe was close enough to hear I whispered for him to stand in the vision path of curious and intrusive eyes. He did quickly, having done this many times before. I could see the fellow's movement behind Joe and saw a cigarette get tossed to the ground and then he stomped up the ramp. Clearly insulted.

Arriving at the table I have to work to settle down a bit. I refuse to spend my life angry so I work at calm. It comes easily, the path paved with regular use. We look at the menu and Joe gets up to go order. Suddenly the man appears again. I can see he's a bit drunk. He's standing at my table with a slight weave, attach wool to him and the wall and in twenty minutes you'd have a shawl. He speaks 'I just wanted to watch you get out of the car. He (here he vaguely points in the direction of Toronto) blocked my view on purpose ...' Before I could say anything, the two toned woman turned to him and spoke, 'Oh piss of Cy, you can be such a daft bastard, leave him alone ...' Cy, probably named because it's a synonym for 'sigh', started to protest. She said, 'We've had this conversation before, disabled people aren't here for your amusement, I mean it, piss off.'

He looked a bit afraid of her and he scampered away. She looked at me and said, 'He says he means no harm, but people like him don't understand what harm they do. Mores the pity.'


Got to love it when someone who knows how to slay dragons, takes up the fight for you.

Sometimes 'piss off you daft bastard' really is the onlyest perfect thing to say.


Kristin said...

Very cool. I do believe I like the term daft bastard. It definitely applied to that idjit and I can think of a few people it applies to in my life.

Anonymous said...

It must have felt nice to have a stranger stand up for you after all the work you have done for others.

Sher said...

You are certainly expanding our vocabulary, David. Purposeful exclusion yesterday and daft bastard today! I can't imagine someone who a) blatantly stares at someone affected by a disability going about their daily business and b) gets mad that it's not appreciated. "Mores the pity" for sure.

Andrea S. said...

It's rude enough to stare. But someone who not only DELIBERATELY chooses to stare but who ALSO then has the audacity to complain when they aren't allowed to ... how over the top can you get?

Colleen said...

Dear Dave:

Dave sorry that you had to deal with this voyeur. You have again added to my vocabulary:

I am not Flipper. My life is not Marineland.

And - Piss off you daft bastard.

I think I would like to add this girl to my list of heros - love her directness. I bet people always know where they stand with her!

Hope you don't have to deal with any more daft bastards!

MoonDog said...

it continues to amaze me that people are so rude! how you get out of the car is no one's business!
On another note I need a favor. My Sophie may or may not walk. she will be 5 in dec and has yet to take a step. She seems under the impression that if she cant walk there are certain things she cant do. I dont mean like cant get in the door, but things like cant be a parent or have a job and such. we really want her to have an independent life of her own choosing. Do you know where I can find any photos or info that is appropriate for an almost 5 year old to see the people who use chairs are really just "people who use chairs" and still "people" and can do all the things they choose in life even if they have to take a different path to get there? Locally there is little diversity in ANY capacity so introducing her to someone around here is not an option.

Anonymous said...

The world needs more people like yourself and this young lady!! My hat goes off to you both today, her for speaking up and you for sharing. I do so love it and appreciate it when people stick together and defend one and other. Thanks for the smile again today Dave!!!!

Maggie said...

Dave, I'm so glad there are sometimes people to step forward and slay dragons for you, after you've slayed so many for everyone else. And I'm glad she got Cy to piss off and quite bothering you.

For MoonDog ... Dave probably has some great resources, and I would add wheelchairdancer's blog as having an occasional story to read to her. Wheelchairdancer talks a lot about being a working dancer on wheels ... which was one of the things I used to think non-walking people wouldn't be able to do.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Moon Dog, I am far away from home and from resources. I do know that there are children's stories that feature kids who use wheelchairs. Try some searches on the net looking for 'disability children stories' ... if you are still stuck in a month drop me an email and I'll dig through stuff at home.

Colleen said...

For Moondog:

There is a Robert Munsch book - Zoom! about a little girl in a power chair.

Citizens with Disabilities Ontario might have some ideas too if you are in Ontario.

Another idea - ask a good children's librarian to help you find some helpful materials.

I hope Sophie soon gets the idea that the world is her oyster and is full of wonderful possibilities!


Kasie said...

The saddest thing about this "daft bastard" is that they have had this conversation before! Apparently he was drinking then, too. And, super slow on the uptake! What an ass hat!

Ettina said...

Moondog, this website may be helpful:

Lene Andersen said...

I love this post, not just because of the story, but because of the way you told it. This seems to have really inspired you - terrific writing. "Very busy hair" painted a picture so I know exactly what you meant. "my life is Marineland" - again, just love that.

I also really, really want to clone that woman.

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