Sunday, February 22, 2015

Gosh, Sorry, My Mistake

It was a blisteringly cold day. Joe needed new slippers and there was a sale on at the Bay. So out we went. Some may think that on a day where the temperature was 30 degrees below 'just stupid cold' was foolhardy, remember we're gay and it was a sale. My chair struggled a bit on the sidewalks which were covered in part snow, part slush and part salt that couldn't work because it gets to cold for salt you know. But we made progress.

When we reached the Bay, we pushed the door openers and rushed in. Immediately inside the door is the elevator. Its door opened as we came through and we climbed on and pushed the up button. It went down. Shit. We were so in a rush to get out of the cold we hadn't looked to see which way it was going. The door opened on a woman with a walker with her elderly husband and a younger woman in a wheelchair.

We apologized saying that we hadn't noticed it was going down and we were going up. We would have got off and let them have it, after all they had been waiting. But they were crowded at the door, leaving no passageway, and they were really, really impatient.

The door closed.

We went up.

Let me tell you about this elevator. It exists really only for those with mobility issues or those with strollers. It is beside a set of stairs. When you enter on the street level, as we did, there are 5 or six stairs up and five or six stairs down. Elevator waits are not long. I imagine that the elevator was back to pick everyone up in a couple of minutes.

Let me also tell you that I felt really badly about having rushed and not having noticed that the elevator was headed the wrong way. But. It was a mistake. I wasn't selfishly commandeering the elevator. This is one that is so quick that waits are never long, it's not a big deal. It was just a mistake.

It was a mistake we apologized for.

And received angry, put out faces in response.

The exact kind of faces I get from the non-disabled when I want or need space, when they have to step around me, when they have to share space with me. The exact faces.

I wish I had said, after the apology was rejected, "Listen we live in a world where everyone is impatient with us, shouldn't we, at least, be patient with each other?"

But, then, that's why I have a blog isn't it?

What I didn't say then, I can say now ...

Shouldn't we, at least, be patient with each other?


Anonymous said...

There's a chance they really, really had to get somewhere. That makes me fractious, as it takes me a long time to get places.

In principle, though, I agree. I try to feel solidarity for others whose mobility is impaired. Holding a door for someone who obviously needs it, while standing with my walker, feels good and useful. Half the time, no one able-bodied will do it. They don't understand the need. It might delay them a few seconds.


Anonymous said...

Maybe impatience and assery are not a disabled/nondisabled thing? Maybe it's just a human thing. Some folks, regardless of race, religion, gender or disability just choose to be unpleasant.

Robin said...

Yes, I do agree we can all be mor patient with each other. IN those people's defense, though, it's often hard to switch emotions on a dime. If they were already feeling frustrated, or rushed, or stressed, (or maybe all of the above), an apology for slowing them down, coming from someone they don't kno might not register-at least, not right away.

clairesmum said...

You are a perceptive observer of human behaviors, and you are gifted at describing your observations. Each of us then reacts/responds to what you write differently. My sense is that human behavior is complex, unpredictable, and illogical. You capture this well in your writing.
The meaning of our behaviors is a whole other area...and this has kept preachers, philosophers, teachers, therapists,criminologists, psychologists, and others busy trying to understand and thus predict and/or change individual or group behavior.
The older I get, the more I try to not ascribe to malice what might better be attributed to ignorance/fatigue/pain, etc. I can get totally involved in trying to figure out what I can't change even if I can understand it....
thanks for letting me 'talk' on your blog today...and thanks for writing...i read you first every day.

Jenni said...

maybe they just have bitchy resting face? see here:

(PS the casting has the same white-centric problem the oscars has, but its still worth a look)