Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Not Up Lifting

Sometimes, even I, am astonished.

Let me tell you what happened. It will take some explaining.

We have three elevators in our apartment building. At certain times of day, the demand for them is very high. I suppose every building like it has 'rush hours' and mine is no different.

Joe and I arrived into an empty lobby, we pushed the button for the elevator and when it arrived, two people got off. Joe held the door for them and I turned my chair around. Joe is now on the elevator holding the 'open door' button. The lobby quickly filled up.

I know these elevators in relationship to my chair and other passengers. I know that the one I'm getting on will hold three passengers and me as the fourth. Since there was a crowd, I said, while I'm in position to simply back on to the elevator, "There's space for two more if anyone would like." Two people said 'Great," and got on.

Then the others, seeing my position, bolted behind me and filled up the elevator. Joe stepped off because I need his help with the elevators and clearly I wasn't getting on that one. Someone took Joe's space and the door closed with me still sitting in position to pull back on to the elevator.

I called out, "What the hell happened?" just before the door closed.

Joe said that the first two people who got on look shocked and dismayed that my space was clearly taken by those who bolted to get on. He felt for them.

I kind of don't any more.

Being shocked and dismayed by the treatment of one person by another or a group, simply isn't enough. They could have spoken up. They could have said something.

But they didn't.

I suppose it did happen fast. I was taken aback by the swift moving river of people that bolted by me for the elevator. So, maybe they were too. I don't know.

But, I'm concerned that we are becoming people who think that being concerned is enough.

Say something.

Do something.

Act up. (to borrow from a movement I really admired)

In the end, we got home. But, I think much differently now, about my home.

And wonder, do I have neighbours, or do I simply have people who live near me.


Liz said...

You have people who live near you.

The people who just shoved on wouldn't bring food to your apartment in a crisis. The people who let them might, but they'd have to be asked first.

Neighbors don't wait to be asked to help others.

Unknown said...

So much for your good manners in offering the 2 places!! At that time of day,it sounds like you need to just take what you need, everyone else was doing.

I do try to remind myself not to attribute to malice what might better be ascribed to stupidity/inattention..tho I don't usually believe myself of this, in the heat of the moment. Clairesmum

Andrea Shettle, MSW said...

I am guessing the two people who looked shocked and dismayed probably were too much in shock, which I think is a natural reaction when things happen fast and are really unexpected. Since they probably don't have much experience/exposure to how some people treat disabled people, it would have seemed more unexpected to them than it was to you. I think sometimes a person needs to be hit by that shock at least once before they're able to think about how to respond better the next time and be more prepared. I like to hope that maybe they thought to say something after the doors closed ... which obviously wouldn't help you much by then, but would have at least alerted the culprits that not everyone thinks what they did was cool.

Unknown said...

I work with a woman who uses a wheelchair; I am her aide. Many times, people have pushed ahead of us and filled an elevator when we were waiting first. I speak out, and people ignore me. We were in Macy's in NYC last December and it happened again and again; she had to go to the bathroom, which was on another floor, and people who could apparently use the escalators kept pushing ahead of us and filling the elevators. We waited about 20 minutes and I had seriously lost all patience. She was much more patient about it than I was. I was exclaiming loudly and finally some people let us get in. I want to think that it wasn't deliberate, and that people weren't paying attention, but it's hard not to take it personally.