She was really offended.
I had been rolling in to the gym, in fact I was nearly there. This means that I'd rolled from the car, up the gradual grade to the door and into the building. I was by myself because Joe had to go find parking. She had said,"You are getting your workout already." I smiled but didn't say anything. No, I'm not working out, I'm rolling my chair. Walking from one place to another may be exercise but it isn't working out. She then, encouraged by my smile started to move towards me, hands out to grab the chair.
"Please no," I said.
And she was offended with a capital UPSET.
I said, "Look, you are walking and I don't offer you help with walking, I respect your ability to do so. Well, I don't walk, I roll, please respect my ability to do that."
Then I got the look. The, "You are just a bitter cripple trying to show off how independent you are when really you are constantly crying inside" look.
I swear one day I'm going to go up to some sporty looking non disabled person and say, "Wow, you are really good at balancing yourself on those little tiny feet, do you want me to help you maintain balance? Here take the handles on my wheelchair and I'll lead you to were you are going. No really, no bother."
I want protection from other people's niceness as much and sometimes more than their meanness.
No, I don't want protection, I can do that.
I just want to live my life without people inserting themselves into the narrative of my life, people trying to hijack my experience of my life, people trying to tell the story of their life through the story of mine.
This is my life.
And, even more importantly, it's my story.
That I want to tell.
And if you're not in it, stay out of it.
Out. Of. It.