Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Right Kind of Privilege

Image discription: the word privilege

Joe and I were waiting for Marissa and the kids to catch up to where we were. We had just finished seeing an exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum. As we waiting I noticed a man going by in a very cool looking scooter. He caught me looking, stopped and rolled over to me. I told him that I was admiring his scooter. He laughed and said that a lot of disabled people notice it.

As he told me about it, how it could be broken down so that it could fit into a car, three young teenagers, who were somehow attached to him, stood behind and waited, comfortably while he talked with me. He was a big man, but he carried his weight differently than I do, so his weight made him look imposing, mine simply makes me look fat.

He then, out loud, started talking about the model of the scooter was the companies bariatric model and was made to carry a significant weight. He said 'bariatric' like it was simply a word, not a horrible judgement. I'd never heard the word ever used in conversation, in public. I don't think I've ever heard it said out loud before. Even when talking to the people who I buy my wheelchair cushions from, they whisper 'bariatric' as if it's an incantation  or a curse.

He gave me info on the scooter, drive medical's phoenix HD4, so that I could look it up and consider it. I had told him that my wheelchair had broken down and that I would need something new. The chat over, he said goodbye and wished me well, the teenagers nodded, and they headed off.

One of the things about having a disability is that I get to meet some of the most unutterably cool, dignified and proud people rolling on this earth. What a privilege. The right kind of privilege.


Andrea S. said...

Wait, there are scooters that can be broken down? New information for me! Any idea how heavy the individual pieces are? I've no need to know for myself, but since I know so many colleagues and peers who use some variety of mobility aid -- including some who use either power chairs or scooters -- I am often curious about the different models and types out there.

Must be so refreshing to hear a word like "bariatrics" used openly and without shame.

clairesmum said...

It is always heart-warming, these moments of connection when prejudices and anxieties fall away and two people are just engaged in rich communication.

Anonymous said...

Dear Dave I've met you twice in person when you are presenting and met you more intimately through your blog. You are one of those unutterably cool people to me.

AnyBeth said...

My (manual) wheelchair's a very basic model. My rollator's impressive -- not just for its sleek look but because there's only one other model of that style. It gets comments and strangers ask about it at least a couple times a year. I tell the brand (whose logo I've covered), the brand (and differences) of the similar one, where in town I got it and where else it could be found locally. If they're curious, I show off the features that led to me buying (strong, light, folds flatter and looks good). If they're very interested but a little skeptical and have been polite, sometimes I even let them pick it up or try it out. Also get questions and comments about the accessories.
I relish when the opportunities to show off present themselves. I bet that man feels the same way.

Isla said...

I love that this also sounds like a typical blokey conversation about cars :)

Renji joseph said...

I am very interested to read this blog,and the expressions which he is explain about purchasing a new chair.I am wonder to know that he is inspired by a stranger to get a new chair which shows dignity and proud of the people .