I was pushing down the hallway of the hotel in which we are staying. I had pushed through a doorway that separates one part of the hotel from another and was now on my way to the lobby. Perfectly normal start to my work day here in Boston. Now, please notice that I had pushed through the doorway, by myself, without assistance, as this needs to be clear in order for this story to make any sense at all.
A woman and her small boy were waiting at the elevator, which happens to be on the other side of the door I had gone through. She would have been in her mid to late 20's. She and her boy had been watching me come down the hallway while I prayed the elevator would come and take away the audience to my progression towards the lobby. I passed them, she said to me, "You poor thing" and I slowed to look at her, it's first thing in the morning and I had no idea what about me resulted in her comment. "They make the doors too narrow for wheelchairs," she said. I said, "I pushed through the door with no problem." She nodded, the door opened for the elevator, and got on.
I'm now starting my day with 'poor thing' ringing in my ears and it's going to take work to shush that up, push that aside and tamp down my annoyance. I'm starting my day.
Words have consequences.
By the time I got to work it had become a funny story. That conversion from feeling patronized and having reality distorted by prejudice ... I was through the door ... into an anecdote involves energy that could have been used differently.
Like enjoying the ride to work.
"They make doors too narrow for wheelchairs."
...I think it wasn't the door that was too narrow, it was her mind.
She had already decided what she was going to say - and couldn't make the transition. Some people are tongue-tied when things don't go according to plan.
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