Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Doors (Part One)

I don't know what I'm taking from them. I'm not sure why a simple, polite, "No, I'm good, thanks any ways," becomes a slap in the face or a humiliating rejection. I want to yell, and I'm going to be graphic here, "It's just a fucking door!"

One of my first big accomplishments as a wheelchair user was to be able to exit my apartment building on my own. There were two differing barriers to be overcome. First is the lobby door. It is a single door that is locked at all times. From the lobby it opens with a push on a lever, I have to do that while pushing the chair forward to get the door slightly open, once done it's a big push to get it to swing open and then another to get over the bump on the floor created by the frame. This is easy for me now. More difficult is the double doors that are the entry and the exit from the building. For this I have to position my chair such that each footrest faces a different door, then, another big push. I cannot go through that door with only one door held open. The balance isn't right, I just can't do it. In this case, help hurts.

So, this guy, a nice guy, holds one of the doors this morning. I'm just through the first door, I'm holding it for him. I say, "No, I'm good, thanks anyways ... I'll hold this one for you." He says he's not in a hurry. I actually am in a hurry, I want to be out by the time Joe comes round with the car. I say again, "No, really, thanks."

Now I get the hurt look.

And a refusal to move.

He stands holding the door.

I explain, I tell him that I can't get out the door with only one getting held, that I can do it on my own but I need both doors to be closed. He begins to reach to hold the other door. I tell him that if he does that I'll have to go out under his arm pit and I really don't want to do that. He smiles at my little joke but continues.

Finally I simply tell him that I appreciate it but if he really wants to help he'll just let go of the door. Joe has now pulled up and I want to get out. He lets go of the door reluctantly. Then he says, "Can I watch how you do it?"

I don't like being watched doing things like this. My day is just starting and this is wearing me out. I shrug my shoulders and push out the door easily.

He's all excited, "Wow, man, that's awesome!"

This is how a fat man in a wheelchair makes porn, inspirational that is.


Anonymous said...

I appreciate what you say about help being provided when you don't need it, but I think you are being a bit harsh here.

Seems to me that the guy wanted to watch you as he could not envisage how it could be done. Now that he has seen your ingenuity he may in the future understand that help should only be offered when it is requested.

Anonymous said...

oh for goodness sake. That someone can demonstrate a range of inappropriate stances all in one small encounter. Wow man, that's awful.
And, anonymous 1, Dave said he doesn't like to be watched. He has to get through the door. The man wanted to watch, but he doesn't have to watch, he could trust Dave's account of how it could be done. It seems to me arrogant on the man's part to insist on watching so he can 'envisage', if that's what happened here.

Anonymous said...


maybe he was realy just interested in how you manage? Some of the doors at places I go to are so heavy, that I am glad if people open them for me...

I think next time he knows you can do it on your own and is just goinh to wish you a good morning.


Anonymous said...

Oh dear. That sounds annoying. Sometimes help isn't very helpful at all. Hopefully the person will learn from this situation.

-- Littlewolf

Unknown said...

Every time I read your blog I get more informed on how to help when I see people who may or may not want assistance. It is important for me to remember to ask if the person wants help, and if so, what's the best way to help.

I also know that not everyone is as gracious as you, and quite often when I've asked someone if they need help they have said words to the effect of 'No shit Sherlock', or 'What do you think, Einstein?' Obviously they are having a rough go of it.

I don't think there are easy answers for any of us, seeking independance and privacy, seeking to support others, seeking to be included and not patronized for the people on all sides. Personally, I'm just going to keep trying to keep the person I'm speaking to foremost in my mind, and try not to be embarrassed by being called Sherlock...

Tamara said...

I get that you don't want to be watched. I get that people should ask before helping and accept no when that's given as the answer. But - I don't know if I think watching what you do is really inspirational porn. I think it's just being curious.

I used to see a man walking down the street in the city from time to time, navigating his way with a cane. I used to watch - but I quit because of reading this blog.

I wasn't feeling inspired at all. I wasn't feeling pity. I really just found it fascinating that you can walk down the street without being able to see it - and I just try to figure out how they use the cane to navigate. So - just nosy.

And - I kind of think that it provides some sort of comfort or something to know that, if I lose my sight or my ability to walk someday, I know I can still get around on my own because I saw that person does it. I don't know - if that's inspiration, I guess I'm guilty. To me it's not that different from watching some woman walk down the street in 5 inch heels - and wondering how the heck she does that. It is different, though, from watching someone trying to walk and use their cell phone at the same time ... hoping you'll see them trip - and then laughing. It is different from that. :-)

Utter Randomness said...

It sucks when things like that happen. I mean, I appreciate that they want to help, but when I explain why holding the door from inside the frame doesn't work for me (because the door knocks me over when they let go to get out of the way) or why I really don't need help up when I fall (because people keep yanking on my arms and pulling my shoulders out), I get so many rude and downright nasty responses. Someone gave me the nastiest look because I didn't use the door she was holding for me - the door to a building I had no intention of entering. I'm sorry that I ruined those people's good deed for the day, but is it really a good deed if the person didn't need your help, or needed help in a slightly different fashion?

And yeah, the whole "can I watch?" scenario struck me as somwehay creepy.

Webster said...

Frankly, I think it was good that he asked you if he could watch how you did it? It was a learning moment for him. We all have to have learning moments, do we not? Certainly you have had your share of them; why begrudge another his?

Alas that those of us who use wheelchairs don't have invisibility cloaks for privacy. Alas that the public doesn't know our preference for anonymity. Alas that the public cannot read our minds with regards to when we need their help or we don't.