I saw the look of annoyance on your face when people stared at you, or when they had trouble understanding your speech. I got it. I understood it. I applauded your calm dignity in dealing with the social side effects of disability. I don't know if the fellow you were with was your friend, your lover, your staff ... I have no idea, it doesn't matter. You both were clearly having a very good talk. It was nice sitting out in the sun wasn't it. It was a lovely fall day and Joe and I, like you and your friend, were taking advantage of it. After all, how many more would there be.
I've never seen you in this area before but you seemed to feel quite comfortable in your skin and in your space. Joe and I fell into conversation, chatting and people watching, as we relaxed in the sun. Joe had his Stella, I had my David's. We were, quite simply, loving being out, feeling the sun on our skin and relaxing into the end of the day.
There is a woman that we see quite regularly in the neighbourhood. She is also a wheelchair user, her powerchair is much lower to the ground than mine, she drives a little slowly and incredibly carefully. Often those who walk shake their heads with annoyance as they make their way by her. They don't notice the incredible concentration it takes for her to make her way down the street. But, then, they never do do they? You'd know.
She came along just as you were finishing your chat and were backing out into the sidewalk. You almost rammed her, but, as I said, she was slow and careful and managed to stop just shy of running into you. She smiled at you, a really big smile, a smile of welcome and of camaraderie. She spoke to you. Do you remember the tone of her voice. Friendly. She greeted you. After you nearly rammed her with your carelessness, she still greeted you. Her voice let you know that it didn't matter that you'd startled her, that you'd caused her to come to a grinding halt.
And what did you choose to do.
You looked at her.
Up and down her body.
Sized her up.
Measured her worth.
And you found her valueless.
You sneered, turned, and drove off. Without a word. She sat there stunned. Really stunned. You didn't see, asshole, that when she continued on her way she was crying.
You did that.
What the hell is wrong with you. I saw your annoyance when people treated you differently because of your disability, you were frustrated at people having difficulty with your speech. You KNOW what it's like to be valued differently.
Yet at the first opportunity you had to shit all over someone else's day.
People ask me what makes me angry. You know what that is ... I don't anger easily you know ... purposeful hurt. That's what makes me angry.
And you sir, pissed me right off.
You know how to stop bullying?
Don't be one.
How fucking simple is that?
Just Wow. My mom is in a wheelchair and twice this year, she's nearly been run over by careless drivers who didn't even take the time to stop and look at her, or even apologize.
Thank you for saying what I've never had the courage to say to those who disregard others just because it isn't worth their time to be kind to someone. I look forward to reading more of your blog.
I have seen nothing as severe as the prejudice of a disabled person towards another. There is a drive to feel superior to others that, if left unchecked, results in very unbecoming behavior. You have witnessed an example.
Well said Dave. I just look at the world some days and think who....who raised these terrible examples of the human race. Who or what caused us to be less caring, less loving, and less compassionate. It baffles me. Thank you for your words.
I have nothing to say but I just wish to applaud you!!!
It's starts at home doesn't it?
Well, being disabled doesn't automatically make you a nice, caring, compassionate person.
It's common for people take out their anger on anyone more vulnerable than themselves. Some spill their anger indiscriminately against any "safe" target. Sad, but a fact of life.
I heard a holocaust survivor say that there are only two kinds of people, ones who suffered hatred and say, "I will never ever do that to anyone else, nor will I allow it to happen without speaking out against it," and those who suffered hatred and say, "I am going to get even by inflicting hatred on everyone I come in contact with."
I can't help but think the second type of person will be very unhappy all their lives.
"There is a drive to feel superior to others that, if left unchecked, results in very unbecoming behavior."
So,exactly like there is for able bodied people then,except that theyre allowed whereas disabled people should know their inferior place already? Because unbecoming behaviour is also the right only of the able bodied huh?
When we are systematically and continually treated as less than human and have to battle hourly for equal status it takes superhuman powers to stay human to others. That isnt about a superiority drive its about survival and deep damage caused by a society that says we're not fully human like 'you' are.
The guy Dave describes behaved like an asshole and that isnt uncommon human behaviour. Expecting him to actually BE superior and 'better than' simply because hes disabled is just as prejudiced as he was being to the woman. Disability does not equal sainthood coz newsflash here,disabled people are actually just human beings too.
Calling out the guys behaviour in that situation is one thing,he was an ass like so many people are. But leaping from that to a sweeping statement about disabled people being prejudiced to each other because of a superiority drive that must be checked by the oh so perfect able bodied community is utter crap. dave witnessed an example of one human being behaving badly,thats all,and I've personally seen and experienced many many things far more severe than prejudice from one disabled person to another so if thats the worst youve seen in your life anonymous then count yourself really really lucky.
Unfortunatley, this is an example of oppressed group behaviour. Not surprising, human nature. Can we rise above it?
When you're right, you're right, Dave. And you are so right on this one.
People with disability are ordinary people, leading ordinary lives. That means that a proportion of us are unmitigated assholes.
Reality can be unattractive.
My hats off to you Dave, so many people in this world just assumes with their eyes about many people - including me my whole life people just look at me and think wow hes not cool, hes a loser, etc.
Always make my day reading your blogs and i will continue to read them as long as i live!!
"Calling out the guys behaviour in that situation is one thing,he was an ass like so many people are. But leaping from that to a sweeping statement about disabled people being prejudiced to each other because of a superiority drive that must be checked by the oh so perfect able bodied community is utter crap."
I did *not* read that comment as suggesting anything like that. I got the impression that Anonymous was claiming this drive to superiority is present in both disabled and non-disabled people alike.
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