We were coming in to the building. For that to happen easily, Joe holds open one of the two doors, I hold open the other and then I just slide in. We had just done that when a young man, mid twenties, came into the vestibule from the building. I looked at him, smiled, and said, "What perfect timing, come straight through!" He did and as he exited he looked at Joe and said, "Thank you very much."
Now Joe had held one of the doors, true. But I had made the offer, I had spoken to him. But he invisiblized me - didn't even acknowledge that there was another door being held open or that I had made the offer.
So after we got into the vestibule, I waited as Joe fumbled to get his key out. In winter you have to take your gloves off, store them under one arm then push by a big winter coat to get to your pocket, it's a bit of a production. After a minute or two I said to Joe, "Did you notice that I offered for him to come through the door and yet he spoke only to you like I didn't exist, like I was invisible. Shit, huh, that kind of ignorance from someone so young."
Joe looked at me with what could only be described as horror.
I got this sweaty feeling on my back.
I turned my wheelchair slightly and saw him standing there, also waiting for Joe to get the door open. He said, tensely, "I forgot something in my apartment."
Joe got the door open, this whole situation happened in less than two minutes, and we entered the lobby. I went ahead and pushed the elevator button.
He looked at me in kind of an exaggerated manner and said, "Thank you very much!"
Then he stood there, I think waiting for me to apologize.
I didn't because, though I hadn't meant for him to hear what I said, what I said was true. We rode up the elevator together in silence. When we got off I said, in as friendly a tone as I could muster, "Have a great day."
He responded with, "SEE you later."
Oh well, sometimes you do education by accident.
If he hadn't been rude in the first place, he would not have had to be educated in the second.
Sometimes lessons hurt. I hope this young man learned this one in one try; otherwise, the Universe will have to give him another lesson.
Some people are gentle, helpful, and kind by natural inclination. The rest of us need to bump our shins on truths to become aware of them.
I know you probably didn't mean this to be funny, but I am laughing out loud...At HIM. The exaggerated "Thank You very much!", the huff being very clearly taken--this guy just got owned by you, and you didn't even mean to do it.
But what an awkward moment! Agonizing.
You maybe inadvertently embarrassed him a bit, by him overhearing your remark to Joe...but you educated him, and I'll just bet he responds better the next time he has a similar encounter with disabled folks.
So it is ok for you to make a judgement and label someone but no one else can? I didn't find it funny at all. I hope you were embarrassed for speaking ill of someone. He is responsible for his actions and you are responsible for yours.
Shaming a wrongdoer as a consequence of poor behavior has really fallen out of favor in our society. I think it's a victim of the ridiculous "self-esteem" movement.
Shame, when deserved, is not a bad thing. As surely it stings, it surely teaches a lesson not soon forgotten. And that's what it's meant to do.
Post a Comment