Thursday, October 24, 2013

Gratitude Anonymous

At the push of a button, two doors swing open.
Though I need only one, I appreciate the extra space.
She is standing there, wanting me to look at her.
I do, I see her indicate that she is going to step to the side.
She is going to go out the other set of doors, not the one in front of her.

I begin to say, "There's plenty of room."
She keeps staring at me, keeps willing me to see her.
Wanting me to watch her step aside, make room for me.
But I don't need that room, there's lots and lots of space.
It seems that she's waiting for something, her foot taps.

Her eyes burn as the look at me, I see need there.
I see craving, an addict needing a fix.
Moving through the door, the door with plenty of space.
She continues to wait, her hand indicates a message

I am disabled, I am often expected to give thanks for help I don't need.
I don't want to say thank you, I'm not miserly with praise.
But this is silly, she is inconveniencing herself for no purpose.
There is lots and lots of space, but not now.
She moves in front of me, now my way is truly blocked.

I look at her questioningly, we've yet to speak a word.
It's a military ballet, I move and she counters.
Now she steps out of my way, now I am compelled.
"Thank you," I said unwillingly and with a bit of resentment.
And I see it, really see it.

The gratitude of the disabled, that's like a bump of crack.
It stabilises the sense of superiority, and makes giving getting.
The gratitude of the lesser, that's an addiction.
She had her fix, my thank you took away the fire in her eyes.
And left it burning, deep and hot in my heart.


Belly (Liz McLennan) said...

Gah! Dave, sometimes your words are poetry. Fierce, stunning poetry.

As for this exchange - well, double gah - I wonder if I too, have been this woman, waiting for someone to notice me being awesome?

I fear that the answer is yes.

I'm sorry.

Unknown said...

I myself do not have this issue, I do have a son with Down syndrome and often am expected to be grateful for all the "great advice" I get about how to raise him. Because everyone knows someone who has a child with Down syndrome and "their friend told them" etc etc. Yes, my tongue hurts from biting it. xo

Tamara said...

Belly is right - your words are often poetry. I am always amazed by these stories. I really never knew anyone acted like that BD (before Dave). She deserved an evil stare down ... :-)

Anonymous said...

When this happens again, I wonder if you wouldn't feel better afterward if you just confronted her, nicely of course, "Did you just move INTO my way so you could move OUT of my way? Why did you do that?" while shaking your head as if you simply couldn't believe it.

In other words, call her on it.

YOU shouldn't be the one with the great undigested lump of something in your stomach - she should.


wendy said...

Ugh. People like that are just soooo annoying.

Psychojenic said...

Yes. It's an addiction.
I was thinking this the other day in relation to a few more things that we encounter...

Deb said...

The difficulty with calling people on their behaviour in a situation like this is who knows how they might retaliate? It's not like you can jump up and defend yourself.

I'm left wondering if people who do this have so much stress and so little validation in their lives, so little positive feedback, that they are left begging it from strangers?

I wonder what would happen if when someone does this again we give them some compassionate validation? "Thank you for noticing that I might need some help. I don't, but it was a kind gesture on your part."

This is only my take, maybe because women are not usually socialized to feel they have to be in power, and accepting help implies weakness.

Anonymous said...

Another Dave and door tale. Honestly Dave, you should write a book.

B. said...

Yup, heaven help me from needy normals.

Mary said...

I know you're not fond of "how I would have handled it" remarks, but I'd like to suggest the alternative phrase "excuse me".

I don't know if this will cross the pond, but here, "excuse me" is an irreproachably polite phrase, even when yelled at the top of your lungs, that can mean any of the following and a few more:
1. I am trying to attract your attention.
2. I am trying to end our interaction and get rid of your attention.
3. Thank you for your consideration.
4. Please get out of my way.
5. Say that one more time.
6. I can't believe you just said/did that and I *dare* you to repeat it.
7. I am sincerely sorry.
8. I am insincerely sorry.

It's a very useful phrase in ambiguous situations!

clairesmum said...

Fiercely poetic indeed. I hope that having the power to use language so skillfully helps transform these experiences into ....what....I don't know exactly...but language is how we create our worlds....

Glee said...

What liebjabberings said :)

Anonymous said...

My favourite, when people obviously want my attention, is to ask them "Is there something I can help you with?"