The little wheelchair symbol had worn off the centre of the table, granted, but as it's the only one of two tables, amongst over a hundred, you'd imagine that it would be easy to notice that two chairs are missing. But maybe I just know what that means because that's the kind of table that I need to sit at. There she sat, completely unaware of me lingering about waiting for a revelation to strike while she tapped away on her phone while eating her lunch.
We ordered our food and waited as it was being prepared. My hopes that she would be a speedy eater were low to begin with, she looked like someone who chewed. The food came but she hadn't left. So I screwed up my gumption and headed over to ask her to move. There were lots of other tables available but I still hated asking her. She responded with a quick apology and a quick move.
But why ...
... do I feel that she gave me something that I need to be grateful to her for?
... do I feel that I intruded into her lunch and was a bother to her?
... do I feel that I do not have as much right to space that is designated for me and those like me as she does for her and people like her.
... do I feel like my 'ask' could have been acceptably turned down?
Being disabled, for me, is sometimes just too complex and I have yet to come to terms with my right to space and my right for appropriate accommodation And it's been over ten years!
Will I ever get it?
Oh, you get it just fine...and it stinks that this is reality in 2017 - that people plop down any where, without considering the needs of others and the differences in the spaces to sit......
Your reality is that you do have to ask every time, and the range of personal experience tells you there is no way to predict what response you will get from a wide range of data points.....so each time is a first time to do a challenging thing.....
since we hate to admit our powerlessness, we easily slip into blaming ourselves for our responses to inequity.
your phrase - doing damns the darkness - helps me move when i am dithering about doing something i am afraid to do. maybe it helps here...ask politely and start the interaction so that when your food is ready you have sorted out the seating if you can.
hard to do when tired and hungry, i know. most of all, don't beat yourself up...
I had to do the same thing at the beach: there were two handicapped umbrellas (the only shade) with chairs under them, back row, with a bit of wooden walk down toward the water.
Both were occupied - people didn't LOOK handicapped, but you never can tell.
I asked at one, they moved over and made some room.
It was enough - but they didn't look at all handicapped. We shared. I chatted. They left soon. I'll never know.
But there were no other walkers or wheelchairs on the beach, and I don't like to beg!
We had a similar experience this past week on a ferry... the only accessible table was occupied by a couple who didn't require it. In our case, they saw our predicament and immediately offered to move to the table next to the one they were seated at. We chatted and shared a few laughs. My son expressed a little discomfort with them moving, but they assured him that they had a lot more options for seating than we did, and that he should not feel badly about them moving. They were right. He did not have to be apologetic; he hadn't done anything "wrong"...and neither had they.
Post a Comment