I know it probably wasn't purposeful, but I really wish that it was.
I read on a blog somewhere, a while ago, something that I wish I'd written down. First, I'd like to get it right, and I won't remember it exactly. Second, I'd like to be able to link to the blog and give the author the credit for the words and idea. The very least I can do in this situation is to simply acknowledge that the idea here did not originate with me.
It didn't strike me at the time, the way it did days later. Ideas are like that aren't they? Sometimes I'll hear someone give a lecture and find myself, much later, thinking 'Whoa, now I get it!' The writer was writing that mere going out and 'being' different in the world is an act of rebellion, a tiny protest against the status quo. On a certain level, I got it when I read it. I will admit that sometimes I choose to stay in because I don't want to face intrusive eyes and corrosive tones. I've even sat in the car, having to pee, deciding to wait till I get home because I simply don't want to have to navigate through those who disapprove of my weight, those who are annoyed by how I move, those that find I take up too much space. An act of cowardice? Maybe. An act of self preservation? Maybe. An act of complicity in my own oppression? Maybe. Whatever it is, it is.
So, back to them, rolling out of the Metro grocery store near us and seeing two young teens. Both boys, both at a table, both looking at one of those kind of electronic tablets. In an instant it seemed that the boy who sat tall in his wheelchair was instructing the other boy in how to do something on the tablet. They were so into what they were doing that they lived entirely in the space between them. They were just friends.
They could have gone home. They could have waited. There is no electronic shop there, they must have chosen to stop there, pull out the gadget and begin the tutorial. I wonder if it was an act of rebellion by one - 'see me here, different'. I wonder if it was an act of rebellion by two - 'see us here, equals'. I hope it was one, or the other. I hope they had an idea that just being there they were making change. They were making the dynamic of their relationship change the dynamic of the landscape. They were giving every single person who passed by a new image of what it is to be boys with shared interests and different abilities. Rebellion. An act of protest. Maybe they made change. I'm guessing they did.
I get it.
I don't always have to write a letter to the editor. I don't always have to confront an attitude. Sometimes I just have to go for a pee, when I need to.
I hope they had an idea that just being there they were making change.
I think it's even more beautiful if they didn't think at all about what their attitude would mean to the world, but were so engrossed in their friendship and their new "toy" that they just couldn't help enjoy it there and now. :-)
I hope that maybe they didn't have an idea that they were making change. We have a way to wreck or deconstruct friendships when we (who have not grown up with equality) try to point out that something that just seems natural is actually novel and maybe even an act of rebellion. I know my daughter's best friend growing up often--after grade 4, where it became patently obvious to her-- pointed this out. "Why is this so special?" she would ask, and then rethink the relationship, and then the relationship would change (she says). It was a stuggle then, when adults noted the relationship, to have it remain just the good/brilliant friendship that it was without it being a bold statement. And maybe you might want to make a bold statement in your teens, but in grade 4 just a statement of friendship is what is needed.
I agree with Nan. I think they one friend just had something to show another friend and couldn't wait to do it, simple as that. That is one of the things I really like about the new technology. It helps to even the playing field. Love it, love it.
Real inclusion happens when you just do it and don't even think about it. Maybe they just did it and didn't even think about it - oh I hope so!
I've had a best friend since I was seven and I never realised until I went off to university that our just being friends was an act of rebellion. I don't think of it that way when we're out doing things on a daily basis, but if I sit back and really think about it I guess that is what it is. That said, as one other person pointed out, real inclusion does happen when people aren't even aware of it. If there's one thing that I have learned from my best friend's unknowing inclusion, it's that if you gotta pee, you gotta pee, even if it means inconveniencing someone else. ;)
I'm a bit surprised that everyone, or most, seem to think it better if they don't realize it. I'm not of that mind at all, I hope they do. I hope they know that the choices they make, make a difference. But maybe that's just me.
Oh, dear, I hope my comment doesn't stifle others!
Just so you don't think you stifled me, I agree with the others. I think it's better if they don't even realize it! Interesting conversation!
I think it's wonderful either way.
If they don't realize it, they have the freedom not to worry about people's attitudes, to simply do what they feel like. If they do realize it, then they've chosen to make a valuable statement.
Reminds me of how I feel about this one high functioning autistic guy I know who openly stims, no matter where he is. I suspect he doesn't realize how unusual he seems to others. But either way, he's the first high functioning autistic I've seen who openly stims in public, and I think that's a wonderful thing.
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