Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sigmond Freud To The Customer Service Desk Please!

I thought it was a battle to which the winner would be proclaimed 'the most polite.' That's what it seemed to be when the door opened. Some hapless fellow got there first and, noticing us coming, stood holding the door. We got there at the same time. Me in my wheelchair, her in her industrial strength running shoes. As we got there at the same time, I said, "Go ahead."

And then it started.

"No you go ahead."

"No you go ahead."

As we continued the emphasis began to change:

"No YOU go ahead."

"NO you Go ahead."

The poor guy at the door is looking helpless, he didn't know or how to intervene and get the two of us through the door.

I know I was being stubborn but I offered first. I like to be in a position where I can defer to another's needs. And besides that I OFFERED FIRST.

Finally, I go for a joke, "You know, I'm comfortably seated, this can go on for awhile."

Then she said, "But you have to go first, I'm supposed to help people like you. It's what's right."

I'm guessing she didn't mean 'morally right' but 'culturally right.' It's right in our culture for the non-disabled person to be the person that helps someone with a disability. It can't be right for a disabled person to be in the helping role - that would upset the apple cart and society would crumble into the abyss of equality. Who wants what that shit would bring?

"Well, then, I think I should let you go first because you are a woman." I thought this was the perfect rejoinder to show how silly this was.

She said, "Well, put that way, that makes sense."

And it ended. We were both through the door. The fellow who'd been holding the door said that he felt caught is some weird psychodrama.

Maybe he was right.


Glee said...

BAHAHAHAHAHA!! Fabulous rejoinder! I laughed and laughed :)

Yes that man was right and that weird psychodrama is where we crips are caught every day. And it ain't pretty.

Anonymous said...

You are such a visual writer!

She could have rejoined with, "Age before beauty." If true. (I'm assuming that, because she was going running, she might have been younger than you.)

Or she might just learn to be sensitive to just listening to what you said, and not making weird assumptions that she was put on this Earth to get you through the door first this morning.

I think I'm getting the hang of this: whether one or more people are disabled or not, LISTEN to the other person and TRUST that they can express their wishes. Most can.

Then simply do the thing requested if possible.


Antonia Lederhos Chandler said...

"It can't be right for a disabled person to be in the helping role - that would upset the apple cart and society would crumble into the abyss of equality. Who wants what that shit would bring?"

Ta DAH! :-)

clairesmum said...

Great use of humor to defuse the tension enough to allow movement - of attitude, of speech, and of persons - to bring the drama to a lovely conclusion. this type of interaction can't be scripted, but shakes up the usual behavior patterns of the standing humans in a way that creates a space for internal and external change! A whole lot happening in 5 minutes or less.

Anonymous said...

Ha ha. It is like an episode of "Chip & Dale". Remember them? The two chipmunks? Ha ha.

Rickismom said...

I know that you didn't mean for this to be funny, but I had to chuckle.... the picture was just so vivid!

Anonymous said...

At the grocery store last night, I slowed to let a couple pushing a cart with a baby go in front of me. They wanted me to go first, I told to go. I laughed and said we would all be so polite that no one would go. A few minutes later I crossed their path again, and a third time at the checkout. Smiled and felt like I'd made friends. Cute baby too!