Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Moment of Community

We were just two blocks from home. Sitting at a red light watching people on the crosswalk as they followed the chicken to the other side of the road. Near the end an elderly woman, in a power wheelchair, worked her way through the crowded crosswalk to the curb cut on the other side.

There she found another crowd, standing, blocking her way up onto the sidewalk. She looked up. Everyone saw her, but no one responded to her presence. My window was down a bit, to let in the nearly warm weather, and I heard her ask for space so she could pass by. Everyone, then, moved to make a pathway for her.

As she came by me, she spotted me in the car, saw my wheelchair sitting behind me, and smiled. A real genuine smile. Then she pointed, with a gesture of her head, to the crowd behind her and rolled her eyes. We both laughed.

She gave me a big wave, and she was off.

I love these little moments of community. Moments where you know, absolutely know, that another has had the same experience and totally gets what that experience means.

There can be an isolation that comes from being alone in an experience. That isolation is lifted in the briefest of encounters.

I could see by her grin that it was lifted for her.

I hope she could see by mine, that it was lifted for me too.


Mary Whitehead said...

the power of a smile is amazing. you both lifted each other up by that simple gesture of "community". thanks for sharing

Andrew said...

I love it when "gets it" is displayed. My grandson and I attended a sporting event two weeks ago. On the way to the stadium, as my gransdon was walking behind me, there were several times when at the sight of my wheelchair, people would do the kid-yank or the back-against-the-wall freeze when they weren't even remotely in the way. Each time, I looked back at my grandson to see him rolling his eyes and snickering. Inside the stadium, I was behind a fellow in a power chair, and as people reacted to us along the way, he kept looking back at me, to see me rolling my eyes and snickering, he laughing as well. Love it!

Rickismom said...

I remember once at the Dentist with Ricki, and seeing another Mom there with a teen who had DS. We didn't speak a word, but our smiles and expressions said it all.... there is a true commradshipo when someone else REALLY "gets it"

B. said...

That's why I say Thank you here frequently. I found you. I don't feel so alone. I recognize the situations.

I thought of you the other day. Going out a public building door with a ParaTransit driver who was quite willing to get the door if it became a problem - a lady coming in actually scurried back to hold the automatic door for me. She meant well (I try to be charitable for their well-meaning gestures).