He was waving at me frantically from the car window. I was pushing myself through the two double doors and as such my hands were quite busy. His smile was unnaturally large and his waving enthusiastic. Finally through, I waved to him. He seemed to sag in gratitude at my notice.
You see, he's not a friendly guy. Most days, pretty much all days until now, he ignores both Joe and I, acknowledging us only grudgingly when forced to respond us for some reason. He's got a lovely dog, who likes both Joe and I and who insists on pulling against a very tight lead to come and get a pat from each of us. His master, the man who today grinned at me maniacally, stands aside, aloof and annoyed at his dogs taste in people. So today was way, way out of character.
Then, as I thought about it, I realized that the car was full of other people and they were all looking over at me and all noticed my shy but friendly wave to their friend in the car. They glanced at him with approval. I think, and this may be overly suspicious, that I had been used as a means of showing others what a kind and good man he was - waving to the disabled and all.
Is that possible?
Do people still get jewels in their social crown by demonstrating a kindness or a friendliness towards those of us with disabilities?
Do people pull themselves up in the estimation of others by portraying themselves as understanding that the 'D' in Diversity is for 'Disability'?
Do people really think that pretending to be someone friendly, rather than being someone friendly, will ever work in the long run?
I don't know. But somehow, I kind of felt dirty. A little bit used. A little bit exploited. I inwardly cursed my natural inclination to return wave for wave and hello for hello. I wish I could have pointed at myself with a question on my face like a non-verbal way of saying, 'Are YOU waving at ME?'
But maybe not. Maybe I'm just over thinking a moment. Maybe I'm being paranoid.
But then, there is the horrible possibility that I'm not.
What do you think?